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What to know about this topic:
- Types of retirement care in Markham
- How much does a retirement home in Markham cost?
- Medical and safety services
- Recreation and social activities for seniors
- Getting around Markham
- Availability of retirement homes in Markham
- Choosing a retirement community in Markham
- Markham Retirement Community Regulations
In the Comfort Life Spotlight
Of Markham’s population of 300,000, about 77,000 or 25 percent of the city’s residents are over the age of 55. Markham, located just north of the city of Toronto, is renowned for its diversity, rich heritage and leadership in sustainability. It is the city’s history and culture, along with a number of excellent retirement homes in the area which cover the full spectrum of care, that make Markham a great place to retire.
IN-DEPTH REPORTSRetirement communities in Markham
Stouffville Creek is a cozy & comfortable place to call home. Everyone is on a first name basis, and the food is exceptional. A short drive north of Toronto, close to major highways, shops, stores & nature trails.
Lifestyle Options: Independent Living, Assisted Living
Types of retirement care in Markham
Retirement homes in Markham can be found in Greenborough and Unionville, and serve seniors in the city and the surrounding area, from Thornhill to Stouffville. There are a variety of kinds of retirement living available in Markham covering the spectrum of care from seniors-only apartments to long-term care (see image below).
Long term care
Markham has a handful of long-term and Alzheimer’s care communities. This type of retirement living is designed to provide comprehensive care to seniors that require a large amount of personal attention. Seniors with chronic pain, illness or cognitive disabilities such as Alzheimer’s and advanced stages of dementia can benefit from the safe, familiar environment and personal care that characterizes long-term care.
A continuum of care
Seniors that need assistance with everyday tasks such as laundry and meal preparation, or those who want to take advantage of the health and recreational benefits of retirement living, often choose an assisted living community or a residence with a continuum of care. Residents in these communities can stay as independent as they like and customize their care and special services to add anything from housekeeping to medication management as their needs change. The greatest advantage of living in continued care is that seniors can stay within the community they call home as their health and mobility situation changes.
There are also many different options for independent seniors to be found within the city of Markham, from independent living retirement communities to life-lease condos and city-run seniors-only apartments. About 30 percent of the city’s seniors-only units are geared to income, to support those seniors with economic challenges.
There are also excellent privately run senior apartments throughout Markham and Vaughan such as those listed here. These senior residences' community activities will include a variety of events ranging from shopping trips to sporting events. these Markham and Vaughan senior apartment communities offer great flexibility of care, including provisions for home care provided by regional Toronto home care services or the CCAC.
When investigating senior apartments or homes be sure to talk to the building's senior residents, ask how they like living there, and ask them about specifics. You’ll learn first hand what it's like in the residence or building.
How much does a retirement home in Markham cost?
The cost of a retirement home in Markham will vary greatly with the type of suite you choose and the care and services you require. The provincial average for the cost of a retirement home hovers around $3,200 per month. Additional costs can come from television, meal plans and such services as hairdressing and foot care.
Some of the most common ways of paying for retirement are through savings, pensions, Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS). The sale of the family home is also a good way to finance retirement costs.
The Ontario government can be helpful when it comes to additional expenses, such as home care or prescription expenses. Seniors with high prescription drug costs relative to their income may benefit from applying to the Trillium Drug Program. Seniors over the age of 65 who live in Ontario and have a valid Ontario health card are eligible for application.
Medical and safety services
Markham seniors have many health centres close by that offer emergency and preventative health care. The city has its own hospital, the Markham Stouffville hospital as well as a family health team and chiropractic, massage therapy and physiotherapy clinics. The Alzheimer’s society of York region also has a chapter based in Markham. Retirement residents can also benefit from the preventative health and wellness services their residences provide them. Modern retirement homes no longer need to outsource most of their health care to third parties, and most have health teams on board, consisting of registered nurses, personal support workers and regular visiting doctors. These health teams and additional staff provide any or all of the following services to residents:
- 24/7 nursing care
- Medication assistance services
- Exercise programs with access to a personal trainer
- Nutritional meals and special attention to dietary needs
- Preventative wellness programs
- Recuperative programs
- Assistance with daily living activities including bathing, dressing, nutrition and mobility
- Monitoring of blood pressure and blood sugar
- Foot care
- Therapy options e.g. Music and Aroma therapy
- Palliative care services
- Emotional, cognitive and social support
- Assistance with walking
- Pain and symptom management
- Advanced Alzheimer’s and Dementia therapy and care
- Continence care needs
Safety is also a large part of preventative health care. Retirement homes have fire protection plans and have sensitive alarm systems installed, as well as emergency call systems that alert staff to a crisis. Suites and their bathrooms are also designed with senior safety in mind - sit-down showers, grab bars, non-slip floors, night lighting all help to prevent falls and make living more comfortable. Often, retirement homes also adopt a single story design for safety and mobility. Those with multiple stories make their facilities accessible with elevators and ramps.
Seniors living at home as well as caregivers can receive assistance with anything from housekeeping, meal preparation and home maintenance through private companies. The municipal government also makes an effort to provide aging residents with low-cost services that make life a little easier. Seniors over the age of 60 can apply for Markham’s Assisted Waste and Recycling Collection Services and the Driveway Windrow Removal Assistance Program and have snow removed and garbage put out at a low cost, reducing the risk of injury. More services in and around Markham and the GTA can be found here.
Recreation and social activities for seniors
The senior community in Markham has no shortage of recreational and social activities. The city boasts over 22km of scenic pathways for walking, jogging and cycling, and is only a short drive from the Bruce’s Mill conservation area as well as the Boyd Conservation area and Kortright centre for conservation, both situated in nearby Vaughan. In addition to many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, seniors can explore Markham’s heritage and arts scene.
Markham is a historic community with many buildings from the 1800’s still standing today. A walk around Markham means encountering more than 20 different Victorian architectural styles in the design of the city’s homes and municipal buildings. The Markham museum is also a popular destination Monday to Sunday, and offers reduced admission for seniors 65 years and older. The Varely Art Gallery is Markham’s go-to hub for both art exhibitions and art classes for all generations. Seniors can take in an afternoon of fine art, or hone their own skills with classes ranging from beginner drawing to intermediate acrylics and hand-built pottery. Theatre, dance and music lovers can enjoy performances, concerts, and even stand-up comedy at the Flato Markham Theatre in downtown Markham.
Seniors can explore all the city has to offer on their own, but those living in retirement homes can also take advantage of planned outings such as guided walking tours, shopping trips or an evening at the theatre. The senior community really comes together at Markham’s senior clubs and centres, which are open to seniors living at home as well as those in retirement living. In fact, retirement homes often have strong relationships with senior centres in order to give their residents access to more activities and facilities and connect them with a wider network of retirees. The city of Markham has a total of 6 community centres that offer seniors’ programs – anything from carpet bowling to aquafit and Chinese calligraphy. For a full list of seniors’ clubs and programs, look for seniors information in the Markham life magazine (find the current online version here).
Thornhill community centre in Thornhill-Markham is also the headquarters for the Thornhill Seniors’ Club. The club serves to connect seniors throughout the York region through recreational activities and social events such as card tournaments and celebrating national seniors day. The club also offers a variety of classes for continued learning, from courses in Spanish to ballroom dancing lessons.
The Markham library network is a great learning resource for seniors as well, whether they are looking for classes or reading materials or need assistance finding information. Computer courses, French programs and word magnifiers are offered through the library system in order to keep the older adult community connected. Multilingual assistance is also provided to seniors that need help finding services or using technology. Legal help is offered free-of charge on the first Monday of each month at libraries in Thornhill-Vaughan. Markham recognizes the importance of seniors in the community, and has run the Seniors Hall of Fame Awards for 15 years (as of fall 2014). Exceptional seniors in the community are recognized for their volunteerism through these awards each year.
One of the advantages of living in a retirement community is being connected to programs, activities and other seniors in the area. The other side or retirement living is having access to recreation and social activities right at home. Many retirement communities have recreational facilities such as pools, spas, sport courts, ballrooms and gyms, and activity co-ordinators are often a part of the staff team. Activity co-ordinators not only organize day trips like those mentioned above, but also plan fitness and wellness programs, family events and even parties for residents.
Getting around Markham
Markham shares a public transit system with the entire York Region, Georgina to Vaughan. The York Region/Viva transit (YRT) has divided their network into three transit zones. Markham residents can travel around the first zone, which includes Vaughan, Thornhill and Richmond Hill, for an initial fare, and can use the bus to reach all the way to Newmarket and Georgina by paying fare upgrades.
Seniors over the age of 65 pay reduced fares on the YRT, and, in accordance with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act of 2005, all public buses are equipped with priority and courtesy seating.
Markham’s Seniors can also apply to be eligible for Mobility Plus the York region’s accessible bus service. Mobility-challenged and disabled seniors can take advantage of this service from 5am to 3am every day and pay the same fare as all YRT patrons.
Most retirement homes also have their own accessible buses that are often used for organized group day-trips. Reserved parking is also available at retirement homes to residents who drive.
Availability of retirement homes in Markham
Ontario’s retirement homes are well regulated, safe and welcoming – unfortunately this also renders vacancy rates relatively low. Although the vacancy rate has increased slightly from 2013 to 2014, the vacancy rate remains in the range of at 13 – 14 percent. As a result, once you make the decision to move into a retirement home or your loved one may have to spend time on a wait-list before moving in.
Certain factors will inform the length of wait times:
•Crisis placement (if someone’s safety poses immediate risk)
•Type of accommodation: basic, semi-private or private or secure floor (Private or semi-private are more expensive but have shorter wait-times)
•Medical care needs i.e. tube-feeding
•Unit designation- secure, non- secure.
Choosing a retirement community in Markham
Choosing a retirement home that fits your needs is a matter of pre-planning and doing your research. The process doesn’t have to be stressful, but unfortunately, some families encounter difficulties when they wait until a time of crisis before considering moving into a retirement home. It is important to consider all your options, wants and needs in advance to finding the right retirement home easier for you and your loved ones. Before you begin your search, you first need to think about the following:
- What you need
- What you want
- What location you prefer
- What you are able to afford
For some assistance with the above, use our retirement calculator or visit our page on choosing a retirement home for more information about what questions you should ask yourself. Once you have determined your needs, sorted out your finances and narrowed down your location the next step is to start contacting and touring retirement residences, which will help you create a shortlist. Some retirement residences even allow you to stay overnight to get a feel for what living in the community would be like. Remember to ask questions when touring retirement homes! For a helpful guide on how to ensure that the home can grow with your needs as your activity, medical and financial circumstances change, download our eBook on the ultimate retirement tour guide (link). Start creating your shortlist today by using our advanced search or contact the Markham retirement residences above to begin your search.
Markham Retirement Community Regulations
Ontario retirement homes are subject to regulations set by the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority. Homes must undergo ongoing inspections and maintain a high standard of safety and cleanliness in order to receive approval from the RHRA and remain operational. In order to ensure you or your loved one(s) will stay safe and be properly cared for, always make sure to check that the community you are considering is licensed by the RHRA. Membership in other authoritative organizations is also a sign that a retirement community will be safe and well-managed. Industry experts recommend looking for a retirement community that is a member of one or more of the following trusted associations:
- The Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA)
- The Ontario Long-term Care Association (OLTCA)
- AdvantAge Ontario (formerly the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors: OANHSS)
- The Canadian Association of Retired People (CARP)