For some Canadians, moving to a retirement home may feel unrealistic due to the rising cost of living. However, retirement living may be more affordable than you think.

Below, we’ll go over the average cost of living in retirement communities per province and how they compare to the expense of aging in place. You can also click here for a more in-depth breakdown of these costs.

The average cost of retirement living per province

The cost of retirement living varies quite a bit per province. Still, many options are available to older adults working with a lower income, such as Alberta’s senior financial assistance program. The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) may also cover many senior living costs.

Retirement homes may seem like a more expensive option for older adults, as the monthly cost may be more than they are currently paying in rent or mortgage payments.

However, these prices usually include the rent along with the cost of meal preparation, housekeeping, and amenities. In fact, moving to a retirement home may even reduce your current bills for groceries, utilities, home maintenance, and other costs of maintaining a home.

Below, we’ll break down some factors affecting each province’s average cost of retirement living.

Ontario has a wide range of options available for retirement living in Canada. Some retirement living options are quite affordable, while others are more high-end.

The retirement home selection available includes independent living, assisted living, memory care, long-term care, and home care. The level of care your loved one requires will heavily influence the cost of living in a retirement home in Ontario.

A unique feature of retirement living in Alberta is that many retirees have access to health care and other similar amenities inside their retirement community.

Because these homes offer various care services, there may be other related costs depending on the level of care you require.
British Columbia

British Columbia is very similar to Ontario regarding the housing options available for older adults.

Like Alberta, retirement homes in British Columbia cover a variety of care needs, which causes the cost of living to fluctuate per person.
Manitoba & Saskatchewan

The prairie provinces in Canada provide many different services and amenities to older adults, and both tend to have very reasonable prices. The type and quality of amenities and services will influence the cost your loved one will bear if they move into a retirement home in Manitoba or Saskatchewan.

Of the other provinces on this list, Quebec has the most inexpensive average cost of living for a retirement home. That said, older adults can budget their expenses by considering unique factors, like the size of their apartment.
Atlantic provinces

The Atlantic provinces offer a very affordable average cost of living for retired individuals. These provinces also provide several options for retirement living quarters for older adults who want to transition into a retirement community.

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Is retirement living cheaper than aging in place?

So, is moving to a retirement home more expensive than aging in place? The answer may vary depending on the province and your current cost of living.

As mentioned above, retirement living costs more than just the rent in your loved one’s living quarters. Depending on the type of retirement home your loved one chooses (independent living, assisted living, etc.), the rental price will likely include meal preparation, housekeeping services, amenities, hands-on care (if required), and 24/7 support from on-site staff and medical professionals.

Even if your loved one’s mortgage is paid off, they’ll still have to contend with the many costs of maintaining a home if they age in place. Expenses like home repairs, snow removal services, utilities, groceries, internet and cable services, phone bills, and other significant costs can add up.

So, when comparing the cost of living in a retirement home to your current monthly bills, you may find retirement living to be around the same price, if not cheaper, than aging in place.

Of course, if your loved one concluded that moving to a retirement home will still be more expensive than aging in place, they should consider whether they can afford the extra cost. If their budget allows for the increase in cost, they need to decide whether the pros of such a move will outweigh the cons.

Many older adults feel that the slight increase in the cost of living is worthwhile when they compare the benefits of living in a retirement community vs. aging in place. Let’s consider a few of these benefits below:
Increased free time

One of the main reasons older adults move from their homes to retirement communities is that the maintenance and upkeep of the building are no longer their sole responsibility.

Those who age in place still have to deal with time-consuming tasks like home repairs, yard maintenance, cleaning, cooking, and other similar jobs. These tasks take up a lot of free time and can become much more challenging as adults age.

In contrast, when living in a retirement home, older adults will have their meals, housekeeping, and other chores taken care of by the on-site staff, providing them much more free time to use as they see fit.

More opportunities to socialize

Another great benefit to switching to retirement living is the many socializing opportunities. Many older adults find it challenging to maintain an active social life while aging in place, as they have fewer opportunities to leave the house.

However, retirement communities provide many areas for dining and recreation where you can mingle with peers, allowing you to widen your social circle.

The final verdict

Overall, retirement living in Canada is reasonably affordable for many older adults. While the level of affordability will vary based on the province and the extra medical and care expenses required for the individual, many will find the expenses to be on par with their current cost of living.