How Much Does a Retirement Home Cost?

Are you considering moving a loved one into a senior living community? It can be a life changing opportunity for the elder individual. They will certainly enjoy the safety, comfort, and company that an established retirement home community can offer. As there are many kinds of senior living communities, it is recommended that you take the time to thoroughly explore your options. Your key deciding factors when choosing a retirement home will likely be the monthly rate you wish to pay and the services you wish the individual to receive.

The average cost of assisted living was $2,043 per month or $24,516 per year according to a report by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporations’ Seniors’ Housing. Of course, the cost of senior living communities varies greatly depending on factors like services, facility size, location, etc.

Assisted Living Cost Breakdown

Retirement home costs generally breaks down into two main categories: services and rent. The former typically includes three meals a day, nursing care, social activities, housekeeping, with quantity, quality, or level affecting the price. The latter usually depends on apartment size and location. When it comes to services, a resident who needs about three hours of help performing tasks like bathing, eating, and taking medication daily would pay more than someone who only needs help with only one task. As you assess your budget and needs, it is recommended that you understand the various kinds of long-term care facilities.

The retirement home cost is associated with the cost of living of the area, which is generally higher in areas that are more densely populated. the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporations’ Seniors’ Housing found that the most expensive retirement homes are located in Toronto, Ottawa and Regina.

On top of the monthly service costs and rent, most senior living communities charge a one-time move-in fee. This typically ranges from $1,000 to $5,000. You can opt to prorate the fee monthly or pay it upfront.

Package Fees vs. Individual Fees

Some retirement home facilities offer services as a package and at multiple levels. The costlier packages may offer a higher level of nursing care and more services (e.g. more frequent housekeeping). It doesn’t matter whether or not you use all the services offered, you will have to pay for them.

Alternatively, your senior living facility may offer the option of paying for individual services. If you choose this route, you may pay more per service as opposed to the package rate but overall, the cost could be less. Apart from this, some facilities offer additional services, e.g. memory care. This is generally reserved for individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other type of dementia. The extra fee for this type of care varies greatly depending on the extent of care needed as well as the facility itself.

Whether package or individual fees, these costs may seem very high. However, one thing to note is that the average cost is actually lower when compared to what you would pay for at home health care services. According to Genworth Financial, the daily average costs for healthcare and homemaker services are significantly more expensive than a retirement homes. What’s more, these averages don’t include the cost of food, while the costs of senior living do cover three meals per day.

Alternatives to Retirement Homes

If you require assistance just during the day, then it is recommended that you consider adult day healthcare. As the name suggests, this type of facility offers supervision and meals for seniors during normal business hours. There may be recreational activities as well. The average cost for this type of facility is about $1,625 per month, which is relatively less as compared to the average cost of long term care.

Apart from meals and safety, adult day healthcare makes sure that seniors have company if they want it. This is very important as social isolation and loneliness are linked to higher risks for a wide range of mental and physical conditions. According to the National Institute of Aging, these conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, weakened immune system, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc.

Full Care Options

Nursing homes offer 24/7 care, in addition to various medical services. However, they accompany a bigger price tag as compared to retirement home facilities. For the majority of seniors, living in a retirement home is their way of living independently for as long as they can. If you think that your loved one will start at a retirement home and move to a nursing home down the line, then it is recommended that you consider a continuing care retirement community where both levels of care or kinds of facilities are on one campus. The costs are comparable, and the transitions are less troublesome as opposed to moving from one place to an entirely different one.


Although at first senior living communities might seem expensive, when you consider the costs of a home health aide and homemaker services, assisted living is generally less expensive. Not to mention the health and social benefits of your loved one being among other seniors certainly outweighs the cost differences. Before you make a decision to live in a retirement home, it is highly recommended that you learn about the cost of long term care in your specific area and think about how you are going to pay for the costs involved. It’s not uncommon for money to run out and you don’t want this to happen to you.