Pickering, Ontario, which calls itself “a perfect fusion of metropolitan life with cottage country charm,” boasts more than 220 acres of green space and 5km of beach and parkland along Lake Ontario. The city is also home to a number of excellent retirement homes, all located no more than several kilometers from the waterfront.
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Lifestyle Options: Independent Living, Assisted Living
Our boutique-style residence is designed for people who want to maintain an active independent lifestyle, thrive, participate & enjoy access to our in–house supportive programs, local shopping & community services
Lifestyle Options: Independent Living, Assisted Living
In general, there are three types of retirement homes: independent living communities, assisted living communities, and long-term care homes. Each of these types of living caters to seniors with different priorities and care needs. Pickering is home to several of each type of retirement home, covering the entire spectrum of care (see image below).
Most retirement homes in Pickering combine the independent and assisted living options to provide seniors with a continuum of care. Independent living means residents can stay as independent as they like, but take advantage of the added safety of retirement living and options such as concierge services, meal plans and light housekeeping. In continued care, seniors can transition into assisted living without the stress of moving, and customize their care as their needs change to include anything from laundry and cleaning services to personal foot care and medication management.
Long-term care homes provide a safe and home-like environment where seniors with more serious conditions and cognitive disabilities such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia can receive more comprehensive care. Long-term care allows seniors with chronic pain or illness to receive more personal attention and access to special therapies and care programs than they would in assisted living or at home.
The monthly cost of living in a retirement home in Pickering will vary with the lifestyle options and care you or your loved one(s) choose(s). The task of deciding what options will best fit your health care needs as well as your budget may seem daunting, but well-run retirement communities can help you customize your care while keeping future health developments in mind. The average cost of a retirement home in the province of Ontario is approximately $3,200 per month. However, every retirement home offers different rates, and includes different services in its care packages. Although some retirement homes do include these services, extra costs can come from meal plans, laundry and housekeeping, television and telephone fees and added personal care. If you are looking for a long-term care home, your Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) can help you or your loved one(s) find placement and provide more detailed cost information. Long-term care homes, often funded by the government of Ontario have their rates for basic accommodation set by the province. Some residents of long-term care homes living in basic accommodations and who have an annual income below $21, 000 may also be eligible for a rate reduction.
Some of the most common ways of paying for retirement are through savings, pensions, Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Pension. The sale of the family home is also a good way to finance retirement costs.
The Ontario government can also provide assistance when it comes to home care costs 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.
Pickering is served by the Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS). Neither of the RVHS’s hospitals are located directly in Pickering – the Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering Hospital is in Ajax and the Rouge Valley Centenary is to the west, in Rouge Valley – but both sites are less than a 20 minute drive from where Pickering’s retirement communities are concentrated. The area also has private chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage therapy clinics, as well as specialist offices. However, modern retirement homes no longer need to outsource most of their resident’s health care, and provide many of the services hospitals and specialists do on-site by employing health teams of health professionals and personal support workers, including any or all of the following:
Retirement homes focus on all elements of senior wellness, including physical health, nutrition and mental health. The dietary and kitchen staff employed in retirement communities ensure meals are both healthy and delicious, and that each meal meets the health needs and faith-based requests of residents. Some retirement homes have complimentary cafes, others provide snacks throughout the day and before bed. Some of the additional on-site wellness amenities offered by well-run retirement residences include:
Pickering is a fusion of urban and rural landscape and lifestyles. The city has a vibrant downtown area and waterfront, as well as over 220 hectares of open space and parkland, including 3 conservation areas and over 85 parks. Active seniors can enjoy hiking, cycling or simply strolling through Pickering’s parks and green spaces. The conservation areas in Pickering include Petticoat Creek, Claremont Conservation area and Greenwood Conservation area. The city also has a number of creeks that run up from the waterfront through the urban areas, creating more green space in the city. West of Pickering, in Rouge Valley lies Rogue park. The park’s 40 square kilometres of woodland and meadowlands were set apart to create one of the largest parks in an urban area in North America, and protect two natural heritage sites. The city also has more than 5 kilometres of accessible waterfront along Lake Ontario. The waterfront along the lake and Frenchman’s bay is lined with 2.5 km of beaches, several marinas, a yacht club, an expanse of parkland, and the waterfront trail. Most of the residences are no more than a short drive, or even a short walk, from the city’s waterfront parks and beaches.
Pickering’s retirement homes are all located in the heart of the city, close to shopping, medical care and recreational activities. Pickering has numerous shopping options, in shopping centres, the downtown area and the picturesque nautical village. Pickering Town Centre houses more than 150 stores and restaurants, and alternatively, Nautical Village in Frenchman’s bay is home to artisan shops and eateries. Seniors can also enjoy visiting photo and art exhibitions, music festivals and the seasonal strawberry, raspberry and blueberry festivals in the Nautical Village with friends and family. Group excursions on shopping trips, or to festivals in the community are common in retirement living. Activity co-ordinators also plan outings for residents that go beyond the city limits and to sights around Ontario - such as Niagara falls. Guided hikes, visits to local country fairs and farmers markets and group wine tours are some of the most popular day-trips with retired residents. Of course, one of the biggest advantages of living in a retirement home is the social focus. Residents don’t need to participate in outings to keep busy, but can find a variety of fitness programs and social activities within their residence, including:
Seniors living at home and in retirement living can also join one of Pickering’s seniors clubs to meet a wider network of 55+ residents and give back to the community. The Rouge Hill Seniors Club meets at the Petticoat Creek Community Centre once a month and runs card games, potlucks and bazaars, clinics and day trips across the province and the border. A membership at the club is $25 dollars annually. The South Pickering Seniors Club also offers board and card games, as well as computer courses and annual international seniors trips. The library is another great way for seniors to stay active and engage in lifelong learning. Pickering has one central library and four branches. A senior social is held weekly on Tuesdays at 2pm at the central library, and book clubs for adults (as well as seniors-only) are run through both the central library and the Petticoat Creek branch. Senior expertise is invaluable to many organizations, and there are countless places where Pickering seniors can help out in the community. Volunteers are always needed at seniors clubs and behind the scenes in the town’s festivals. From the Halloween Harvest festival to the Santa Claus Parade, there is no shortage of volunteer opportunities and social activities for seniors and their families in Pickering.
Active seniors can get around by using the walking trails and bike paths that wind through the natural landscape and the city. However, the Durham Regional Transit (DRT) is also an option for getting around the area, and lends itself to short trips around town as well as longer rides across the entire Durham region. The DRT serves the cities of Pickering, Ajax, Oshawa, Whitby, Clarington, Uxbridge, Scugog and Brock. Transfers are valid for two hours and are valid on any DRT line, and the same reduced seniors fare (available for 65+ patrons) applies anywhere in the region. All public buses are also equipped with priority and courtesy seating. Seniors with disabilities and mobility challenges can apply for the DRT’s specialzed accessible door to accessible door transit service. The fare for a ride on a specialized transit vehicle remains unchanged from the route service charge, although a support person may accompany a registered member free of charge. The GO transit also operates in Pickering, and connects the region with neighbouring cities through both buses and trains. The lakeshore east GO-train line is the fastest way to get from city to city, reaching from Hamilton in the west as far as Oshawa to the east. Most retirement residences also have an accessible bus of their own. In some cases, these buses are used to drive residents to and from health care appointments, however, they are generally reserved for group excursions. Reserved parking is also generally available to residents who drive.
As the senior population continues to grow, so does the demand for retirement homes throughout the province. Although the vacancy rate for retirement suites in Ontario increased slightly over the 2014 year, it still sits at a relatively low 13.9 percent. This means that you or your loved one may have to spend time on a wait list before moving into your chosen retirement home. Keep in mind that the following factors can often inform the length of wait times:
Choosing a retirement community is a matter of research and preparation. Unfortunately, many families wait until a time of crisis to begin their search, which can add to stress and make finding the right retirement home more difficult. This is why it is important to consider all of your options in advance. It is equally important to ask yourself and potential homes the right questions during your search. Before you begin, ask yourself and your loved one(s) the following questions:
You can visit our page for seniors considering a retirement home for a more comprehensive list of questions to consider in advance. If you are unsure what kind of care you will be able to afford, use our retirement calculator. Once you’ve defined your wants and needs and put your finances in order, you can start to make a short list of retirement homes and begin touring. Remember that once again, asking questions on your tour is one of the most important parts of the process. For a full list of questions to ask, download our free e-book on the ultimate retirement tour guide. Start your search today by using our advanced search or contacting the residences in Pickering shown above. If you aren’t ready to get started, visit our advice guide for a step-by-step guide to choosing a retirement home.
When searching for a retirement home, it is important to make sure the communities you are considering are properly regulated. All of Ontario’s retirement homes are subject to regulations set by the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority and must maintain a high standard of safety and cleanliness in order to remain operational. Always make sure to check that the community you are considering has a good standing with the RHRA. Industry experts also recommend checking if a retirement home is accredited or certified by an outside organization such as the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA, which accredited retirement homes until April 2017). Accreditation with any of the following trusted associations is a sign that a retirement community will be safe and well-managed: