Comfort Life - Your guide to retirement & care

I realized I could afford it

Retirement living is more affordable than you may think 

You might think a retirement home is out of the question. But, as the retirees below have realized, paying for a retirement home is much more affordable than it seems.

Agnes "Nessie" Begg, 81, had her own reservations about spending her hard-earned money on a luxury retirement home. Growing up in Glasgow, she was always told to pinch her pennies. "I'm not one of those rich girls," she thought. But her grown-up children made her realize that she deserved the relaxation of a retirement home, and helped her out to make the payments. Since, she's had a 180 degree turn-around.

"I've been here a year, and I think it's wonderful," she said in the plush Red Lion pub at the Amica at Newmarket home. "My daughter takes care of the finances and I just enjoy it."

A retirement home can actually save you money

Muriel Patterson, 78, can also rely on her family to help her out when she needs it. "My kids say if I run out of money, they'll help!" she said, and they may even qualify to have part of the costs of their parents' care subsidized by declaring them as dependents. Muriel moved from her home in Wasaga Beach, Ontario to the Amica at City Centre facility in Mississauga when it became too much for her to care for the house and her wheelchair-bound husband, 92-year-old Pat. "I knew we were going to have to move. I couldn't handle winter up north anymore. I couldn't face chipping ice and getting Pat in and out of the car," she said.

After looking at her current living expenses, she came to the realization that many, many retirees eventually understand – that she could actually save money by moving into a retirement home.

"I was filling the car with gas twice a week, food was pushing $200 a week. There was heating and a $400 monthly charge in our gated community. Things had become so terribly expensive." Adding up all the figures-"it proved to me it could be done."

Now Muriel lives stress-free in her new home, where she can enjoys fancy lunches prepared for her underneath chandeliers, swim at her leisure in the pool, or even catch a flick at the movie theatre with friends. Comparing the expenses of living at home versus in a retirement home has helped a lot of people achieve their dreams for a perfect retirement.

You may have more than you realize

Her housemate, Ernie Doran, 90, says he was shocked at the rental price. "I had never rented before. I had lived in a house for 50 years. I would not have considered it if I didn't have a house to sell. But I looked at what houses sell for, and I realized I had enough capital," he said.

Many retirees don't realize the true value of their home, and the benefits that can be gained by selling their property and moving on. Instead of worrying about buying groceries and making meals, doing housework and property maintenance, or feeling isolated, many retirees enjoy the life of luxury with most of these costs included in their monthly fee with the added bonus of constant care and social interaction. Even without years of financial planning, retirement homes are becoming a more common choice for people entering their post-work life. After a lifetime of hard work, they're finally reaping the benefits in style.

Bill Boone's fourth-floor apartment looks out directly on a tree-lined pond where swans preen and blue herons fish. He listens to classical music as he walks along the plant-lined garden paths at the Glynnwood Retirement Residence, before returning to his room to send digital pictures to his daughter. Bill is 90 years old, and after quickly moving into a home after he "took a spell" on the golf course, he is finally living.

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