Comfort Life - Your guide to retirement & care

Ottawa Retirement Homes

The complete guide to finding a retirement community in the Ottawa region

As the capital of Canada and fourth largest city in the nation, Ottawa is renowned for its high standards of living and being a multicultural powerhouse based along the Ottawa River and Rideau River. In 2012 it was ranked by MoneySense as one of the best communities to live in Canada for the third year in a row and with a rich cultural history and architecture influenced by its highly political background, Ottawa is a beautiful bustling area for seniors with a number of excellent retirement homes.

Find Ottawa retirement communities


Montfort Hospital provides a wide range of programs available with a referral, such as cardiovascular and pulmonary health, diabetes, falls, rehabilitation, thrombosis, a sleep laboratory, and spiritual and religious services.

The Ottawa Hospital not only has a rehabilitation center, but a Cancer Program, Eye Institute, Heart Institute, and Foustanellas Endocrine and Diabetes Centre which treats a variety of endocrine and metabolic conditions like thyroid disease and osteoporosis. 

Queensway-Carleton Hospital offers the Champlain LHIN Total Joint Assessment Program, cancer information, congestive heart failure clinic, fall prevention and a geriatric day hospital, which helps seniors with additional concerns surrounding the maintenance of their independence.  

Independent and assisted living homes in Ottawa also have nursing staff on-site 24/7 and doctors who visit several times a week. Some residences have an on-site pharmacy, while others offer a travelling pharmacy service, medication supervision, oxygen assistance, physical therapy and other various care packages.

Other examples of health and support services in the community are Ottawa Public Health, which endeavors to help older adults maintain their independence and current health with such programs as Healthy Aging and Preventing Falls, and the Essential Health and Social Supports Program which helps those with low income with financial help for health related items such as prescription drugs and dental care. 

Overall, police in Ottawa have seen a significance 11 per cent decrease in crime over the course of 2013, speaking to the commitment of law enforcement to continue keeping Ottawa a safe city for all of its residents. Retirement communities work hard to provide utmost care and safety for their residents at all times. Apart from seeing to health care needs and access to services, they often have suite call bell systems and emergency phone systems as part of their security measures.

Ottawa's biking trails are second to none

While volunteers in the wider community sometimes help with transportation needs for seniors in retirement communities, those looking to get around Ottawa independently and who don’t have access to a car often rely on:

Rural Community Support Services are also available to those living in rural Ottawa who are looking for additional transportation options.

Have you thought about retirement living but you’re still not sure if you’re ready? Consider the following questions:

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions you may want to start considering a retirement community more seriously. For additional points to consider and common questions and concerns about retirement homes, please visit our page for seniors considering a retirement home.

Once you have decided that you’re ready to take the next step into researching retirement community options, keep in mind that each retirement community is unique, just like you, so it’s important to find a residence that truly speaks to you, where you’ll feel most comfortable and cared for. 

How do you go about finding this? One of the very first steps is to determine what you want. What’s important to you in a community? What do you absolutely need? What would be nice to have? To get in introduction to choosing a retirement community, see the video below.

Next, think about the area you’re looking into moving. What nearby services and activities are important to you to have close by? Do you want to be somewhere close to family or would you rather live somewhere that’s unique appealing to you? 

Also think about what you can afford. Is there a certain monthly fee you won’t go beyond? Remember, there are some services that retirement homes offer that aren’t included in the monthly fee, so be sure to factor that into your overall budget. If you need some assistance figuring out what type of retirement community you can afford, be sure to download the Retirement Calculator to help you compare your current costs of living with what it would be like to pay for a retirement home.

Overall, ensure the retirement homes you’re considering: 

It’s also important to ensure your medical needs are met, the residence you choose is affordable now and in the future, and that the home can grow with your needs as your activity and medical levels change over time. 

For those who require a long-term care home, it’s likely that you or your loved ones will be put on a waitlist. According to CCAC experts, semi-private and private accommodations generally cost more but may have shorter wait times, and different factors may affect average wait times, such as the type of accommodation requested, if someone is in crisis, if there is an ethno-cultural preference, or if there are specific medical care needs. This type of residence is still referred to by some as a nursing home, although that phrase is no longer used by the health care industry. These are regulated by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, focused on "building a sustainable public health care system in Ontario based on helping people stay healthy, delivering good care when people need it, and protecting the health system for future generations."

You can find information on wait times from the designated associations mentioned above or the retirement community of your choice directly.

The best way to figure out whether a retirement community is right for you is to take a tour of the home and visit with current residents and staff. What does the environment feel like to you? Is it somewhere you could envision yourself? If you’re able to speak with some of the residents, you may like to ask what they love most about their experience there. Talk to staff about any specific concerns you have and what they may be able to offer to accommodate your needs. Be sure to download the Ultimate Retirement Tour Checklist to take with you when you begin touring retirement communities on your shortlist.

If, after touring the community, you’re still unsure as to whether it’s the right place for you, many homes will offer overnight stays as an opportunity for you or your loved ones to get the full experience of what the residence has to offer. Take this opportunity to ask more questions and get as much feedback as you can to help inform your decision.

Read choosing a retirement home for more information, or contact the residences above to get started with your search.

"Being with people our own age, with similar concerns, definitely makes a difference in your everyday living."

Like all retirement communities in Ontario, communities in the Ottawa area are subject to the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority (RHRA), which was created under the Retirement Homes Act of Ontario in 2010. The RHRA set a deadline of July 3, 2012 for existing residences to become licensed.  Licensing requires retirement homes to receive approval from the RHRA in order to operate, and must undertake ongoing inspections by the RHRA to ensure they continue to comply with licensing requirements and safety standards.

Many retirement homes are also members of provincial associations. Ontario has a number of these associations, including:

Source: CMHC Seniors’ Housing Survey 2012-2013

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