Bringing Seniors and Services Together

Residence Categories Explained

What do the categories of residence mean?

There are 4 major categories of retirement residences listed on this site.


Long-Term Care Homes

  • Long-Term Care Homes provide a wide range of services for people who can no longer live independently. These include:
  • Nursing and personal care
  • Regular and emergency medical care by the on-call physician
  • Treatment and medication administration
  • Assistance with activities of daily living
  • 24-hour supervision
  • Room and board, including laundry services (special diets are also accommodated)
  • Pastoral services
  • Social and recreational programs

All Long-Term Care Homes are funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and governed by legislated standards. Click Here to view the results of the Ministry’s most recent annual review of each Long-Term Care Home – called the “Facility Review Summary Report”.

Assisted Living or Retirement Homes

If you think it would be safer for you to live in an environment that enables you to maintain your independence and provide you with light assistance with services such as meals, laundry and housekeeping, a Retirement Home may be the right choice.

Keep in mind that many Retirement Homes are privately owned and operated, and many do not receive funding or licensing from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Each Retirement Home offers different services, so you will need to discuss what you need and the costs with the home’s administrator. Ask the Retirement Home Administrator for the “Care Home Information” package, which you are entitled to receive in accordance with the Tenant Protection Act.

Your CCAC can provide you with information about the Retirement Homes in your area, and they can also help you decide if you need the higher level of support offered by Long-Term Care Homes.

Many retirement homes are limited in the type of care that they will provide, so if at some point you need more care you may be forced to move to a long term care facility. Often this is the case if you require two people to help you transfer from one place to the next, in and out of bed etc.

If you're feeling pretty good now but want to be able to stay in place you'll want to check out the Residences that offer "Aging in Place".  You still need to check out their details but in most cases this means they will be be able to handle you in the facility even though your needs may increase substantially.

Aging In Place may be an important consideration if you and your spouse are both moving into a Retirement Home.  If one of you ends up requiring a higher level of care it is often preferable if it can be accomodated in the same building.

Independent Living

Independent Living facilities are just that: places for people that can live on their own, cook their own meals etc, get in and out and about.  These can be as simple as rental apartments that cater to seniors.  Independent living apartments are often available in the retirement residences as well, and can provide services if you either need or choose to partake of them in the future.  Perhaps you only want dinners cooked, or laundry, or use of the recreation facilities.

Life Lease Condos

While life lease condos are very popular in the Unites States and also in Southern Ontario, they have not be readily available in Ottawa until quite recently.

These are very similar to condos except are restricted to ownership by seniors 55+. The laws in Ontario do not really permit condos to restrict by age, so instead they are run as a life-lease condo. This has certain additional restrictions over condos, but enables you to purchase your own place and will it etc to your estate. They are often attached to a retirement residence complex so that you can partake of the amenities as you may need of them but still live in your own home.