With a stunning landscape that includes breathtaking views of the North Shore Mountains, scenic outlooks and an above average temperate climate (especially in winter months), the city of Vancouver provides an ideal setting for some of the country's premier retirements communities.
This is a guide to finding the right retirement home, created for those looking in the Vancouver area, (including North Vancouver, Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond, and so on).
3338 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6S 0A6
This beautiful Vancouver seniors' community offers a variety of private suites, along with community services including dining, wellness activities and more.
2799 Yew Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6K 4W2
A senior living community in Vancouver, BC offering luxurious seniors' apartments in an active community, along with assisted living and other options.
649 8th Avenue, New Westminster, British Columbia, V3M 2R2
Thornebridge Gardens is one of New Westminster’s finest retirement residences, providing luxurious, worry-free surroundings with life enriching services that inspire healthy senior living. Many options are available!
135 West 15th Street, North Vancouver, British Columbia, V7M 1R7
Summerhill PARC near the heart of Lonsdale and 15th Avenue in beautiful North Vancouver offers a highly social retirement community living experience. 1- and 2-bedroom suites available.
1550 West 49th Avenue,, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6M 0B3
Located in Vancouver’s Kerrisdale neighbourhood, Granville Gardens offers residents the opportunity to stay active and live in a well-appointed urban community, surrounded by shopping centres, parks, community centres.
725 - 22nd Street, West Vancouver, British Columbia, V7V 0B3
Westerleigh PARC offers refined retirement living in one of West Vancouver's most sought after addresses. Studio, 1- and 2-bedroom suites available.
3633 Mount Seymour Pkwy, North Vancouver, British Columbia, V7H 0A9
Located near Mt. Seymour in Vancouver's North Shore, Cedar Springs PARC offers retirement living within a beautiful natural environment. 1- and 2-bedroom suites available.
13751 - 74th Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia, V3W 1A8
Welcome to Arbourside Court, a retirement home in the heart of Surrey, BC. Proudly serving our senior residents since 2001. Many activities to enjoy and new friendships to be made, we are always bustling with laughter.
7230 Acorn Avenue, Burnaby, British Columbia, V5E 4N9
Mulberry PARC is a welcoming home and community in the heart of Burnaby, BC with the largest 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom retirement home suites available.
Throughout the suburbs of Vancouver there are also spectacular retirement residences, some of which may be less expensive than those closer to downtown and the ocean. There are several spectacular retirement residences in Surrey, including independent living, assisted living and other care variations. Delta retirement communities are ideally located near parkland and the Fraser River, with easy access to many Vancouver attractions. Burnaby’s senior care homes offer great scenery and world-class care.
Vancouver has a variety of retirement homes that offer a range of amenities to meet residents' health and lifestyle needs. The primary types are assisted living and independent living, to the left of the spectrum of care shown below. There are also homes with a full continuum of care available. For these types of communities, many residents can continue their range of care starting in an independent living suite and gradually move to assisted living — pacing their changing health needs over time. This, of course, means residents can maintain the company of friends and staff in spite of changing care needs. These are also ideal for Vancouver couples who have differing care needs.
For example, one couple we spoke to, John and Vera, was primarily concerned with finding a place for John, in the middle stage of dementia. But when they found a community that was ideally suited for his needs, Vera decided to check out the independent living community closely attached. She decided to make it her new home. "I like that I was able to visit him daily without leaving the property. I could see he was getting good care every day.” Moving into the community, she had her eyes opened to how wonderful life can be in a retirement home. "There’s so much to do here, she says. "And I don’t miss my home, cooking, housework and all that, not one bit." You can find many more stories like John and Vera’s linked to from our page of retirement home testimonials.
Tools to help you choose
Due to a growing senior population, the demand for seniors housing increased in 2013. This contributed to the vacancy rate lowering to 11.4 percent for all independent living unit types in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island/Central Coast and other BC regions. The vacancy rate increased — only slightly — in the Okanagan/Thompson/Shuswap areas.
The total number of seniors’ housing spaces, including independent living and heavy care spaces, increased to 28,326 units.
In 2013, the average rent in British Columbia increased by 2.8 per cent to $2,747 a month. The biggest increase happened in the Lower Mainland, where the average rent rose by 3.8 per cent.
The average rent for independent living spaces in Vancouver in 2013 varied by unit type: $2,483 for bachelor, $4,080 for one-bedroom, and $5,727 for two-bedroom.
Based on Comfort Life communities in Vancouver, residence fees vary anywhere from $3,550 to $3,750 and $4,810 or $5,875. These rates fall in the median range of the nation wide average of $1,475 to $6,000.
Currently there is no government funding for independent living residences in BC, however there is a BC Housing program called SAFER (Shelter for Elderly Renters) for seniors in need of financial help. Those who qualify can receive a rent subsidy based on their income. To learn more about the SAFER Program please visit bchousing.org.
To help pay for retirement care costs in Vancouver, many seniors use their pensions, RRSPs, CPP and other forms of income from second careers. Other seniors also combine profits from selling their homes and contributions from family. Determine how you can afford your ideal retirement community with our Retirement Cost Calculator.
Vancouver’s senior living retirement communities encourage people to gain a new perspective on life. The best senior care providers in the city (like those listed above) create an environment where people rediscover passions and interests they may have set aside. While people are raising families, paying the mortgage and, well, working toward retirement, interests that are in fact self-sustaining take a back seat. And seniors living on their own find it difficult to break out of the spell of familiarity, whether for couples, or singles (including widows and widowers). Older people fall into a pattern of over-simplicity when healthy social interaction wanes. Cooking for one or two makes meals less appealing. Even as yardwork and housework becomes too much for them, they try to push on through.
When seniors move into a community, though, they find new opportunities for learning and change. These are multifarious:
Read about others' renewed outlook on life, in Vancouver senior living retirement communities
Rest assured, though, that the move has many benefits that go well beyond simply getting care. Here’s a brief glance at several stories of renewal and enhanced life that come from people living in retirement communities:
Read the full, original stories on Tapestry’s blog.
“We find that many of our residents take on new challenges and participate in programs they never thought they would,” says Anna Louie, marketing director for PARC Retirement Living. Exercise and personal renewal are part and parcel of life in PARC communities across Greater Vancouver.
Read more about these and other residents of PARC who are living a better life in communities than they did on their own.
More about senior living in Vancouver
For those who are active and want to get out into the wider community and participate in events around Vancouver, the city has no shortage of activities for seniors, including:
There are many museums and art galleries in the downtown core and surrounding areas, such as the Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver Maritime Museum, and the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art and the Khlahowya Village in Stanely Park also offer galleries and displays of traditional Aboriginal artwork and a firsthand look at a rich and vibrant culture through performances, tours, cuisine and more in the Village.
Vancouver’s art scene is also deeply ingrained in local theatre. The Queen Elizabeth Theatre, which houses the Vancouver Opera and Ballet British Columbia, provides one-of-a-kind masterpieces, while the Firehall Arts Centre sports more experimental performances and Arts Club Theatre Company delivers new performances and old theatre classics.
Churches and places of worship in Vancouver include Westside Church, Coastal Church, St. John’s Vancouver Anglican Church, Vancouver Buddhist Temple, Zawiyah Foundation, and Vancouver Chinese Baptist Church, to name just a few. The city of Vancouver offers a wide range of religious services and locations for all faiths.
Among some of the most popular annual festivals in Vancouver are the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in the summer, Vancouver Fringe Festival and CanWest Comedy Fest in the fall for theatre and comedy lovers, CelticFest Vancouver in mid-March, Caribbean Days Festival in late July, Vancouver Chinatown Festival in early August, and other cultural festivals throughout the year. Popular music and film festivals include the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in June/July, the Vancouver Chamber Music Festival in July, MusicFest Vancouver in August, and the Vancouver International Film Festival in September/October. Additional literary, performance, and food and drink festivals are also featured throughout the year.
Those interested in exploring some history may like to check out Gastown, Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood with cobblestone streets, an antique steam clock, and plenty of charming little shops and restaurants. Britannia Shipyards, Forbidden Vancouver, and Roedde House Museum are also infamous destinations to explore and sightsee.
There are over 220 parks, 10 beaches and a beautiful freshwater lake to choose from within Vancouver to walk, bike or simply spend a nice afternoon relaxing with family and friends. A number of fitness centres, marinas, golf courses, and communities centres also offer activities and entertainment. Apart from golfing, cycling and walking in the plentiful parks, there are exciting whale watching trips and the Grouse Mountain SkyRide (with a Refuge for Endangered Wildlife), plus area arts and culture classes, workshops, luncheons, flea markets, and free movies.
Retirement communities provide access and transportation to many of the above activities and services, as well as involving residents in organizing intra-community events and programs to enhance their experiences.
I love getting to know people here. Everyone here has an interesting story.
A range of services is available at Vancouver homes, including basic exercise programs, wellness centers, medical administration and supervision, and specialized programs for dietary and mobility restrictions. Care packages are provided based on the community type (assisted living communities have more care than independent living, for example).
Streamlined access to outside medical care services can be arranged if the retirement residence is unable to provide the next level of care necessary. Many area hospitals have programs and expertise in caring for the elderly, including Mount Saint Joseph Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital, and Burnaby Hospital. Mount Saint Joseph Hospital has a number of outpatient clinics including a Falls and Fracture Prevention Clinic, Thyroid Clinic, Mental Health and Wellness Clinic and Physiotherapy Outpatient Service while Vancouver General Hospital offers community care services such as group programs for seniors and occupational and physical therapy.
St. Paul’s Hospital, which provides an Elder Care Ambulatory Clinic and a Falls and Fracture Prevention Clinic, also has a Center for Healthy Aging and hosts a number of events open to the general public surrounding healthy aging. Burnaby Hospital has many educational resources available for seniors and their families, plus Advanced Care Planning and convalescent care. (After your hospital stay, you can consider the value of convalescent care in a retirement home.)
Additional acute care programs, older adult mental health services and rehabilitation services are also available at these hospitals and in the surrounding area. Vancouver retirement communities can help you arrange additional services as necessary and coordinate transportation to any of the Vancouver community centres that offer senior 55+ programs and services such as a senior centre with computer lab at Britannia Community Services Centre.
Regarding safety measures and services in Vancouver retirement homes, independent and assisted living communities often have nursing and housekeeping staff and doctors who visit several times a week. Some residences have an on-site pharmacy and medication supervision, while others offer access to nearby pharmacies, physical therapy and other appointments.
Overall, with the crime rate continuing to drop in Vancouver, the broader community is kept safe to explore and its retirement communities ensure that residents are well looked after in and outside of their residences. Many communities have call bell systems and emergency phone systems in place and endeavor to provide the utmost care and safety for their residents at all times.
Retirement communities strive to ensure that seniors are able to get around, often scheduling transportation either through complimentary rides to shopping malls, medical appointments or other inclusive outings, or arranging door-to-door service for special requests.
Depending on the district of Vancouver, shuttle buses are offered for free or donation. Contact local seniors community centers for information.
For independent seniors who are interested in traveling around Vancouver, there are a number of options:
For a full guide to getting around Metro Vancouver, please visit AccessTransit
Narrowing down the options for retirement homes can seem like a daunting task. Consider what matters most to you, your price range and if location is a factor in your decision. Would you prefer to be close to family? Would living in an active lifestyle community suit you or would you prefer a community with more assistance?
For more points to consider and some common questions and concerns about retirement homes, please visit our page for seniors considering a retirement home.
Are you even ready to move into a retirement community? The following questions can help you decide:
Did you find yourself answering yes to one or several or all of these questions? Then you may already be in the mindset of beginning your search for a retirement community. Please visit our page for seniors considering a retirement home for more common questions and concerns about retirement living that may be helpful to you.
When you decide that you’re ready to look at which retirement communities are available and which type might suit you best, remember that each retirement community has something different to offer so it’s important to search for residences that speak to your personality and interests, where you’ll feel most comfortable and cared for.
One of the first ways to set about doing this is to figure out what you want. What’s really important to you in a community? What do you absolutely need and what would be nice to have? When you consider the area you’re looking into moving, which nearby services and activities are important to you to? Would you be all right with living in city away from family or being close to them necessary?
Also, what can you afford? Keep in mind there are some additional services that retirement homes offer that aren’t included in the monthly fee. If you need some assistance figuring out what type of retirement community you can afford, download the Retirement Calculator to help you compare your current costs of living.
Overall, ensure that the retirement homes on your shortlist:
Be sure that your medical needs will be met, the community you choose will remain affordable over time, and that the residence can accommodate your needs as your activity and medical levels change.
One of the best ways to feel out a retirement community and see firsthand if it would be right for you is to take a tour and speak with current residents and staff. Is the environment somewhere you could envision yourself? Chat with some of the residents where possible and ask what they love most about living there. Question staff about any specific concerns and see what they may be able to suggest to accommodate your needs. Also, don’t forget to download the Ultimate Retirement Tour Checklist to take with you when you begin touring retirement communities.
If, after taking a tour, you’re still unsure as to whether that community will work for you, ask if it’s possible to stay the night. Many residences will offer overnight stays as an opportunity for you to get the best idea and experience of what living at that community is like. Take the time to ask more questions and get as much feedback as you can to help inform your decision.
Vancouver’s senior care services are also flexible in terms of types of homes and other services provided. Another example is when seniors and families choose short-term services. Temporary care services are often arranged for seniors after a medical crisis has occurred, such as a stroke or a fall. Services may also be provided for a longer duration in retirement homes or in long-term care homes, depending on the level of care required.
Learn more about choosing a retirement home or contact the residences above to get started with your search.
An additional point to consider for those interested in a long-term care home is that you or your loved ones are likely to be put on a waitlist. Experts suggest that semi-private and private accommodations generally cost more but may have shorter wait times. Different factors may affect average wait times, including the type of accommodation requested, a crisis, ethno-cultural preference, or if there are specific medical care needs. For more information on wait times, contact the designated associations mentioned above or the retirement community of your choice directly.
Being with people our own age, with similar concerns, definitely makes a difference in your everyday living.
In order to ensure the safety of seniors, the BC government regulates assisted living and long-term care communities through the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, which was formerly the Community Care Facility Act. This Act ensures that specific standards, certifications, and inspections are maintained, and provides regulations for community care and assisted living, residential care, and continuing care programs.
Initiatives such as the Age-friendly Action Plan also strive to improve services and facilities available to seniors whether they require a minimal amount of assistance or need a more in depth range of support. Learn more about the Age-friendly Action Plan and their progress on the city of Vancouver’s official website.
Many Vancouver retirement homes are members of provincial and national associations, including:
Source: CMHC Seniors’ Housing Survey 2012-2013