Amongst its sprawling landscape of skyscrapers, urban areas, parks, suburbs, gardens and beaches, Toronto has an assortment of inviting, culturally rich spaces for seniors to enjoy their retirement. Within these areas are an array of quality retirement communities.
This is your guide to Toronto's senior communities, which covers downtown, East York/York City, Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough.
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.
Most retirement homes in Toronto -- regardless of where they fall on the care spectrum -- have an on-site doctor, or a doctor who visits residents on a regular basis. On-site nursing staff are also available in most retirement homes, although their availability will range – some are available 24/7 while others are available for specific hours, depending on the type of retirement home and living package you choose.
A pharmacy on-site is less common, although it does exist in some retirement homes in Toronto. (Only 5% of senior homes in Ontario offer an on-site pharmacy, which is one of the lowest provincial averages in Canada).
Depending on the retirement community, a number of other medical programs may be available, ranging from simple exercise programs, to intensive physiotherapy, to recuperative programs, to programs for knee-replacements, to special dietary programs.
Photo: a good retirement community will include activities that keep residents healthy.
Residents who need medical care outside of the scope of what the retirement home can offer may hire one-on-one care; sometimes the LHIN will pick up the tab for this extra service.
Many communities have developed partnerships with nearby hospitals -- like Sunnybrook Hospital, for example, whcih runs transitional programs with local retirement homes.
The high concentration of world-class hospitals in Toronto also helps. Seniors deciding to stick around Toronto in one of its retirement homes can depend on one of the medical centres specializing in geriatric care.
Toronto also has a number of health-focused non-profit organizations to help raise awareness for and treat residents, such as the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada, and the Canadian Cancer Society which all have offices in the downtown core. The ALS Society of Canada, Canadian Mental Health Association and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation are other examples of organizations in the area that assist residents within the GTA.
With one of the lowest crime rates in Canada, Toronto is considered one of the safest major cities in North America. A quality retirement community will work hard to ensure its residents are safe inside and outside the residence. Toronto homes commonly have security monitoring, call bell systems, and emergency phone systems in place to safeguard their residents’ and help them feel confident as they explore their new community and surrounding area.
All retirement communities in Toronto are also provincially legislated to provide a safe environment for seniors, (see below for more info).
Most retirement homes ensure that a senior’s transportation needs are well cared for, either through bussing or a group of orgnized volunteers. For independent seniors who want to get around Toronto on their own, there are a number of options:
For seniors who are looking to get around Toronto’s suburbs these community services are available:
Demands for space have decreased slightly across Ontario for all unit types, except for ward/semi-private spaces. In 2013, there were approximately 51,800 units available in Ontario for seniors, with demand highest for two bedroom suites. Some senior couples looking for two bedroom suites did encounter waiting lists.
When it comes to choosing a retirement home, there is a lot to consider. Some seniors are looking for homes near their family, while others want to explore the benefits of a more active lifestyle. The first step is to determine what you want, what you’re looking for, what you can afford and the location of your search (assuming you have a particular neighbourhood in mind).
If you’re not sure whether it’s time to consider retirement living, consider the following starter questions:
For more points to consider and some common questions and concerns about retirement homes, please visit our page for seniors considering a retirement home.
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.
Keep in mind that if you are interested in a long-term care home in particular, it’s likely you will be put on a waitlist. 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. For more information on wait times, contact the designated associations mentioned below (under "Toronto retirement community regulations) or the retirement community of your choice directly.
If you’re not sure whether a retirement home is right for you, many homes will offer overnight stays to provide an opportunity for you or your loved ones to get the full experience of what the residence has to offer.
Get more information about choosing a retirement home, or contact the residences above to get started with your search.
Don’t forget to download the Ultimate Retirement Tour Checklist to take with you when you begin touring retirement communities on your shortlist.
"Being with people our own age, with similar concerns, definitely makes a difference in your everyday living."
Retirement communities throughout Ontario, including Toronto, are subject to the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority (RHRA), which set a deadline of July 3, 2012 for existing residences to become licensed. Licensing requires retirement homes to receive approval and undergo ongoing inspections by the RHRA in order to operate.
Many retirement homes in Toronto are also members of provincial and national associations, including:
Source: CMHC Seniors’ Housing Survey 2012-2013