With a variety of excellent retirement communities and senior services all dedicated to adult wellness, Durham's motto continues to stand true: “A great place to grow.”
This is your guide to finding the right senior community and care in Durham Region.
Some of the best retirement homes throughout Durham Region are listed below. Click to view a community's full profile, or refine your search by accessing the map or advanced search views.
Your home at Winchester Glen will offer an active, independent lifestyle in a senior-friendly community. You will enjoy a private suite with amazing amenities, convenient services & daily activities at your doorstep!
Lifestyle Options: Independent Living, Assisted Living
The Village of Taunton Mills in Whitby presents several levels of service from seniors' apartments with full kitchens, retirement apartments with meals and services to memory care, assisted living and long-term care.
Lifestyle Options: Apartments, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care
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
Harmony Hill offers comfort, security, and friendship, as well as a full range of amenities and services that you expect from a premier, active-living seniors community.
Lifestyle Options: Apartments, Independent Living, Assisted Living
V!VA Pickering is Durham's premier all-inclusive rental retirement community! Enjoy large suites, great amenities, delicious dining, and a Team devoted to Making Today Great for you and your family! Book your tour today!
Lifestyle Options: Independent Living, Assisted Living
Nestled in a beautiful residential neighbourhood across from Centennial Park, you'll thrive, participate & enjoy access to our in–house programs, activities, support services, shopping, community services and transit.
Lifestyle Options: Independent Living, Assisted Living
Royal Heights is designed with your active & independent lifestyle in mind. Luxury apartments feature en-suite laundry, stainless steel appliances & balconies. On site Fitness room, salt water pool, movie theatre & more!
Lifestyle Options: Active Living
Parkland Ajax offers independent and supportive options! Beautifully designed spacious suites, exceptional on site amenities and professional staff on site 24/7, Parkland is where you can live your best life!
Lifestyle Options: Apartments, Assisted Living, Memory Care
Our clients are at the heart of everything we do. We believe in tailoring our services to meet their unique needs, recognizing that no two individuals are the same. Whether it's medical care, companionship, or assistance
Lifestyle Options: Respite care, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Home Care
There are three main types of retirement residences on the spectrum of care: Independent living, assisted living, and long-term care, all of which can be found in Whitby and Durham Region, (see image below).
Independent complexes are popular with seniors who prefer to remain independent, but would like to take advantage of the safety and amenities that come with retirement living. However, most of the areas retirement homes offer a continuum of care where seniors can live as independently as they like or take advantage of the assisted living services provided. These communities offer a spectrum of care from light housekeeping and recreational facilities to meal and laundry services, medication supervision and personal care. The advantage of retirement communities that provide both independent and assisted living options is that residents can remain in their new home, surrounded by familiar friends and facilities, as their care needs change.
Seniors with more serious health challenges, especially those with cognitive disabilities such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia, can benefit from the more comprehensive care provided in long-term care. Specially trained staff work with residents in a home-like setting to ensure they remain safe and comfortable, and that their unique physical, social and health needs are met. These homes provide nursing care for people who are no longer able to care for themselves; as such, some people still refer to these as "nursing homes," although that phrase is considered out-of-date within the industry. These are also used by some families to provide respite care for people who have had a health or physical setback, where homes provide a short-term stay. This gives peace of mind to families, and can open eyes to the rich care available in today's senior care homes. There are a variety of phrases used within the industry; the phrase continuing care is also used by some communities.
Ontario-wide, the average monthly cost of a retirement home is approximately $3,200. However, the cost of living in a residence in Whitby/Durham Region will vary greatly with the type of suite and care options selected. Semi-private or private suites are often more expensive, and additional fees can come from television, meal and personal laundry services such as foot-care and dentistry. Remember to consider all your care needs when deciding on a retirement home.
Seniors housing apartments and affordable housing units are also options for older adults in the Durham region. The regional government provides a level of funding to over 40 social housing providers who own 6,400 rental units in the local municipalities.
Affordable housing and seniors housing can range from high-rise to low-rise apartments, townhouses to semi-detached homes. Accessible units are available and some housing providers also provide services to those who have difficulty living on their own. Some senior apartments are located in seniors-only communities, while others are interspersed with other homes. An application is required to be eligible to live in subsidized housing.
Seniors with financial trouble can also apply for geared-to-income housing, where 30 percent of the resident’s income is generally allocated to rent. Unfortunately, geared-to-income units usually have long wait times.
There are many housing options to consider, just as there are many different ways of paying for retirement. 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 be helpful when it comes to additional expenses, such as home care 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.
From dieticians to activity co-ordinators and health teams, the staff of today’s retirement homes serve to promote resident wellness. After all, healthy and delicious meals as well as fitness and social events are all part of the keeping physically, mentally and socially healthy. Health teams consisting of personal care workers, registered nurses, regular doctors and nursing aids also serve residents with a variety of preventative heath care services, including:
In the interest of safety, suites are equipped with amenities such as non-slip floors, oversized, sit-down showers, bathrooms with grab bars and night lighting to make living comfortable and keep seniors safe. In the event of a crisis, emergency-call systems are located in every room and will alert staff immediately at any time of the day or night.
If an emergency does occur, or there is a need for a specialized health service, there are number of health centres in the area in and around Whitby. The closest full service hospitals are Lakeridge health Oshawa, Markam Stouffville Hospital in Markham and Rouge Valley Health System in the adjacent town of Ajax. Lakeridge Health Whitby is located directly in the town, and is a specialized clinic that offers dementia care, dialysis and rehabilitation. Massage therapy, chiropractic care and physiotherapy are also provided in the area, and are sometimes available within retirement communities.
Seniors who live at home and require assistance in terms of health care, companionship or home maintenance can look to a variety of support systems. Some special services are also provided by Whitby Senior Services, but private companies offer a more extensive range of care and assistance such as housekeeping, meal delivery and visiting or live in health care providers.
Caregivers can also find a number of support services in the area. The Whitby branch of the Central East Community Care Access Centre and the Alzheimer’s Society of Durham Region can help caregivers administer the right care to their loved ones. Adult day programs, friendly visiting and counselling are also available for caregiver health. Many retirement residences also provide opportunities for overnight respite, giving caregivers a night off, and seniors a night out in a home away from home.
Approximately 24 percent of the population of the Region is above the age of 55, and the town recognizes the importance of the health and wellness of this growing demographic. “It is imperative that seniors' services offered by the municipality anticipate and respond to the demographic shift to an older population, changing diversity, and social inclusion,” reads the town’s senior services webpage.
In response to the World Health Organization’s Age Friendly City criteria, a Seniors Strategy that will guide the recreation and leisure services for the Whitby community starting in 2014. A senior services committee, made up of 10 people elected by seniors themselves also advises the city council on issues pertaining to the older citizens.
Recreation is a large part of senior health. From athletics to art and history, the town of Whitby has no shortage of events, sights and activities to pass the time. The Durham council for the arts ensures that the region maintains a thriving arts scene. Whitby Brass Band, Station Gallery and Whitby Courthouse Theatre are popular attractions, and the town’s heritage day is also a favourite with the town’s residents.
The beautiful harbourfront located in downtown Whitby is also worth exploring, as is the town’s second downtown – the historic village of Brooklin. Active seniors can enjoy discovering the town’s architecture, shopping options and natural beauty on foot, but most retirement residences will organize group trips to festivals, performances and shopping centres by private bus as well.
Outside of retirement homes, seniors programs operate mainly out of two facilities: The Whitby Seniors’ Activity Centre and the Brooklin Community Centre and Library. Both facilities offer a large variety of recreational and wellness programs to members as well as drop-in residents. From computer and language courses to dance, art and drama classes, fitness programs and sports leagues, seniors in Whitby have lots of opportunities to keep physically and mentally active! Members can also take advantage of the Centre’s Monday to Friday lunch program and even occasional trips to musicals and attractions such as Ripley’s aquarium and the sugar plum craft show.
Transportation, recreational facilities, leisure classes and volunteering opportunities, as well as special services such as snow removal and income tax preparation are all provided to the older adult community by the municipal government through these seniors centres.
The volunteering opportunities for older adults in Whitby range anywhere from kitchen support to marketing and administration and the city recognizes that senior volunteers are a valuable part of the community. Every year, the town presents the Mayor’s Senior Volunteer award to an individual 55 years or older who has given back to the community through volunteerism.
Modern retirement homes make resident wellness their first priority. Seniors who require assistance and active older adults alike can take advantage of the benefits of retirement living: from on-site leisure, learning and wellness programs to connections to outside health centres and community attractions.
If residents would rather stay at home and enjoy the amenities of their residence, they can let the action come to them. In addition to the many classes and clubs offered by most retirement homes, many also hold concerts, plays and parties right on their own properties. Retirement residences offer both a safe and home-like environment with all the amenities, and great ways to explore and stay engaged in the community.
Since the founding of the Accessibility Working Committee in 2003, Whitby has strived to create a fully accessible environment for residents. Both the AWC and the Accessibility Advisory Committee provide advice to the municipal council on a wide range of accessibility issues, such as setting accessibility standards in all public places and ensuring accessible parking. Ramps, elevators and accessible washrooms have been added to many of the town’s public facilities, including theatres and swimming pools.
Both active seniors and those who have trouble with mobility can take advantage of the Durham region’s transit services. “Bike and Ride”, a program which allows cyclists to mount their bikes on buses, was recently implemented to encourage resident wellness. The DRT serves the entire Durham region, from Brock to Pickering to Clarington, and offers reduced fares to seniors 65 and over. All public buses are also equipped with priority seating for seniors that require a seat.
The DRT also provides specialized services, such as accessible door to accessible door transit for disabled or mobility-troubled residents. A support person can accompany registered members free of charge.
The GO transit Lakeshore line is the fastest way to get from Whitby to Hamilton and the GTA. GO buses also operate throughout the Durham region.
Those living in retirement homes will most often find that their residence has an accessible bus or two of their own. These buses are used by some residences as transportation to health care appointments and can sometimes be arranged to take residents from one door to another. However, most retirement communities use their buses to organize group excursions, such as day trips to shopping centres, or more exciting outings out on hikes or to a night at the theatre.
Reserved parking is also available at retirement homes to residents who drive.
Choosing a retirement home is a process that requires thought and pre-planning, but it doesn’t have to be stressful.
Families and seniors often opt to stay at home in their retirement and don’t begin considering, let alone looking, for a retirement community that fits their needs until a crisis occurs. Starting your search after or during a family emergency can cause unnecessary conflict and stress, so whether you or your loved one has been looking forward to enjoying the benefits of a retirement residence or wishes to stay at home, it is always a good idea to do some pre-planning.
For more points to consider and some common questions and concerns about retirement homes, please visit our page for seniors considering a retirement home.
Whether you or your loved one(s) are eager to move into a retirement community, or are just beginning a search for the future, it is important to keep in mind the following:
Use our retirement calculator to get an idea of what you’ll be able to afford in your retirement.
The next step is to looking for potential residences in Whitby and Durham. Use our advanced search to create a shortlist and arrange meetings and tours with the staff.
The best thing you can do to find the right residence for you or your loved one is to ask questions. A good idea is to make a list of questions or a checklist with your wants and needs to ask the staff about. If you are unsure of what to ask, download our ultimate retirement tour checklist.
Remember to ask about overnight stays - some will let seniors stay overnight in a guest suite to get a better idea of what it’s like to live in the community.
In order to ensure the retirement communities on your list meet a high standard of safety, be sure to check that that they are licensed by the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority (RHRA). Every retirement home in Ontario must undergo ongoing inspections of health and safety and receive approval from the RHRA to remain operational.
In addition to the regulations set by the RHRA, all long-term care homes in Ontario are governed by the Long-Term Care Homes Act 2007. The act requires residences to provide safe, consistent and high-quality resident-centred care and makes sure residents feel at home, are treated with dignity and respect, and have the health care services they need available to them.
Industry experts also recommend looking for a community accredited by a trusted organization, such as those listed below. Many Durham and Whitby retirement homes are members of the following associations:
• The Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA)
• The Ontario Long-term Care Association (OLTCA)
• AdvantAge Ontario (formerly the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors: OANHSS)
• The Canadian Association of Retired People (CARP)