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.
458 Donald B. Munro Drive, Carp, Ontario, K0A 1L0
One visit to Carp Commons Retirement Village and you’ll see the difference in terms of amenities, food, services, programs, and the little touches that make it feel like home.
1166 Wellington Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y4H1
Signature Retirement Living is excited to open the Wellington West Retirement Community located in Hintonburg just west of Downtown Ottawa, featuring independent suite styles & a dedicated assisted living floor.
10 Wildpine Court, Stittsville, Ontario, K2S 1C6
At Wildpine, our staff ensure you get the highest level of care and service possible. We strive to provide the best service at the lowest prices, because money shouldn't stand in the way of worry free retirement!
6419 Lumberman Way, Orleans, Ontario, K1C 6E8
At this park-like setting, seniors are offered the choice between studio, 1 or 2 bedroom suites. Bring along pets while enjoying a variety of customizable options, including a varied menu and recreational programs.
275 Tartan Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K2J 0V2
Ottawa's newest all-inclusive retirement community simply includes more! From a saltwater pool to an incredible golf simulator, our impressive amenities are only matched by our commitment to exceptional care & service.
6 Arthur Street, Carleton Place, Ontario, K7C 4S4
Carleton Place Terrace welcomes pets: offers residents plenty of options with studios and one-bedrooms that may include a kitchenette & / or a walk-out . Activities & chef-prepared meals keep residents healthy & active.
110 & 120 Central Park Dr, Ottawa, Ontario, K2C 4G3
Whether you're looking for independent living, assisted living or memory care, you can access them all in one location at Park Place. We are a vibrant, social community surrounded by parks and close to many amenities.
27 Weaver Crescent, Kanata, Ontario, K2K 2Z8
Enjoy the natural setting of the surrounding Kanata Lakes with access to shopping, parks and churches at Symphony Senior Living Kanata. This pet friendly community offers a variety of service packages and suites to fulfill your unique needs.
110 & 150 Rossignol Drive, Orleans, Ontario, K4A 0N2
With so much to do nearby, it’s easy to forget why you might want to stay home, but with its exceptional dining, impeccable design, and fun activities, you’ll find Promenade has many attractions of its own!
2500 Wellings Private, Stittsville, Ontario, K2S 2R5
Enjoy a vibrant new community for adults 55+ who share a passion for an active lifestyle. Studios,1, 2 bedroom apartments to rent include full kitchens, appliances, laundry, balcony, parking, concierge & onsite dining.
1145 Bridge Street, Manotick, Ontario, K4MOG8
Manotick Place is situated in the heart of picturesque Manotick right on the Rideau River. We are an ideal choice for individuals who wants to embrace all that life has to offer.
1510 St. Joseph Boulevard, Orleans, Ontario, K1C 7L1
Forest Valley Terrace is proud to be the only community that is designed & dedicated to accommodate the needs of seniors with all stages of Alzheimer’s, dementia or other forms of memory impairment in Ottawa.
150 Stanley Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1M 2J7
A former monastery and friary, Governors Walk is designed to pay respect to the past while featuring a modern touch. Governors Walk is steps away from the picturesque Rideau River and Stanley park.
2604 Draper Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K2H 9B1
Redwoods apartment style community offers suite with full kitchens, individual meal plans and valet service. Whether you're meeting friends for a drink, or for a swim, you'll love the social life at The Redwoods.
Retirement homes in Ottawa are designed for the unique health needs and living style of seniors. The most common type of retirement homes in Ottawa and its surrounding area (including Kanata, Nepean, and Gloucester) are independent living and assisted living communities, on the more active side of the spectrum of care, (see image below).
Many Ottawa retirement communities offer both independent and assisted living services in residence to allow for a continuum of care. Active, healthy seniors can choose an independent living suite and take advantage of the full dining, light cleaning and other services offered. For seniors with greater health demands an assisted living suite provides access to a greater level of medical care and staff time for health and other personal needs.
The advantage of choosing a retirement home that offers both independent and assisted living is that through this continuum of care seniors can remain within the community that is familiar and comfortable to them. They also continue to rely on the support of staff, friends and peers as their health demands change.
Retirement homes offer an increasingly flexible suite of services and care options that include respite care stays for families caregiving for an elderly loved one (including those with Alzheimer's), as well as convalescent care stays, ideal for those who are recovering from surgery (such as hip surgery). Of course, there are also a number of memory care facilities in Ottawa for those with Alzheimer's and other kinds of dementia. Some Ottawa seniors' residences also offer end of life care.
Tools to help you choose
Demand for retirement suites in Ottawa is increasing. In 2013 the vacancy rate in Ottawa fell by 10% for spaces charging between $2500-3000 a month. The high demand in the Ottawa area is due to a growing share of spaces charging higher rent. In fact, 50% of the total vacant suites in Ottawa cost $3500 a month or more.
In 2013 Ottawa’s rent increased by 7.7%, which marked the fastest rent growth by region in Ontario. A greater number of occupied spaces in new residences contributed to the larger rent growth, combined with a declining vacancy rate for two-bedroom suites.
The rent for Ottawa retirement homes listed with Comfort Life range from $2599 to $5500 a month, depending on the suite and level of care. Available suites include studios, 1 bedroom, 1 bedroom plus den and two bedrooms. Most suites offer a balcony view.
Retirement in Ottawa may seem expensive, but many seniors afford it by using a combination of their pensions, RRSPs, CPP and other income to pay the monthly fees. Other sources of income could include the sale of the family home and help from family members to cover costs.
Seniors in need of financial help should investigate the Trillium Drug Program (TDP), which helps seniors with high prescription drug costs relative to their household income. Almost anyone who has an Ontario health card, lives in Ontario and is a senior over the age of 65 is eligible to apply.
The City of Ottawa offers a number of resources for seniors including discounts and financial help with fees for recreation and cultural programs. For more information visit the City of Ottawa’s website.
Of course, there are many people for whom cost is less of an object, and a number of luxury retirement communities in Ottawa and area offer the very best in retirement living.
Senior living options in Ottawa come in a wide variety. We think that if you look around, you'll see many different options in where to move— seniors’ apartment towers, communities that focus on specific types of care such as dementia care, places that are very affordable and places that offer a wealth of amenities. The list above is very comprehensive and varied.
For all that, many seniors cling to beliefs that are limiting — to themselves. That is, many people don’t really live life as fully as they could. Living on their own, their traditional family home environment becomes a "burden" (as some admit) and they spend too much of their days doing things that bring them no joy. As April Johnstone says, "getting down on your hands and knees to get under the sink is something that people will simply no longer do."
Peggy speaks for many seniors when she says, "I think it’s a mistake to stay home." She moved into a Central Park community and loves how it's changed her life. "As people get older they should be with other people. And there are so many nice new people coming in that you can relate to because they’re your age. It’s a health problem if you fall at home, but there’s security and safety here." When you move into a retirement home, you pass many mundane daily activities onto other people. This gives you time to fully re-engage, perhaps as never before. You can do some things you may not have done in a while and maybe even discover passions and interests you've never given time to while you were raising a family, paying the mortgage, and maintaining a home. This is why they call it senior living!
To look at another example, Margaret moved into a community in Ottawa, and she's shared with us her love of "lots of activities" in the retirement apartment building where she now lives. "There’s something going on almost all of the time and you’re welcome anywhere. [The staff here] create such a welcoming, friendly atmosphere … [They really] make it a home for me." We encourage you to read our reviews, which offer more stories from inside Ottawa senior living homes.
Retirement communities continuously strive to provide physical, emotional and social support to seniors alongside the medical care they need through the implementation of daily activities as well as new and ongoing programs developed by coordinators and highly trained staff.
Communities keep residents busy, active and social with activity plans and full recreation programs such as:
Retirement communities in Ottawa also provide seniors with a number of different bus trips and outings, including:
Many retirement homes in Ottawa offer wellness programs focused on keeping seniors healthy and strong. With access to a nursing team, physiotherapist and personal trainer who will work one-on-one with residents, active seniors can enjoy the focus on their fitness and wellness, including balance, core, cardio and strength training.
Other common amenities built into Ottawa retirement homes (especially some luxury retirement living communities in Ottawa) include swimming pools, theatres, craft and horticulture rooms, gardens, gyms, pubs and cafes. Underground parking is another common convenience included in rent for seniors who have their own vehicles. For those who don't, there are a number of transit options, taxi's and weekly bus trips offered by each residence.
Active seniors requiring less medical care will appreciate the variety of amenities in the surrounding Ottawa area, including:
A number of Ottawa’s most popular museums are situated close to Parliament Hill and explore much of Canada’s rich culture and history, such as the Canadian Museum of History, Canadian War Museum and Canada Aviation and Space Museum, as well as the National Gallery of Canada, Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, and Canada Science and Technology Museum.
While many of Ottawa’s retirement communities offer religious services, additional places of worship in the city include Saint Patrick’s Basilica, St. Luke’s Anglican Church of Canada, Joyful Land Buddhist Centre, Christ Church Cathedral, Knox Presbyterian Church, and Ottawa Mandarin Alliance Church. For additional faith services and locations, please ask your retirement communities of choice what’s available nearby.
For those interested in annual festivals and events, the National Women’s Show Ottawa (fall and spring), the Ottawa Winter Jazzfest, the Tulip Festival in early May and Glow Fair Festival are unique and exciting events to consider. Others include the Ottawa Dragonboat Festival, the Fringe Festival in June, the International Jazz Festival, Carnival of Cultures in June, Ottawa Bluesfest, Folk Festival, and Lumiere Lantern Festival. For additional festivals and events for specific times of the year, visit the Ottawa Tourism official website or check with the retirement community of your choice.
Pinhey’s Point, Rideau Canal and the public grounds of the Parliament buildings offer stunning views as examples of historic sites and common areas to walk or bike depending on a resident’s level of activity.
A number of other recreation facilities, classes, leisure groups and clubs are available to seniors in the area, including the Active Living Club 50+, which offers individual activities year-round or an annual membership, Big Band Dances at the Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre featuring classic 40’s and 50’s hits performed by Ottawa’s Big Bands, and cycling education programs.
There are city-operated seniors centres in both the east and west ends of Ottawa, as well as English and French community centres for seniors, such as the Abbotsford Senior Centre, Gloucester Senior Adults’ Centre, and the Roy G. Hobbs Seniors Centre. These centres offer programs and events that may not be available otherwise in the area and give seniors the opportunity to interact with other older adults in the community.
I love taking walks along the Rideau every morning, and there's always someone who wants to come with me.
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.
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