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Chapter 5 - How much is this going to cost?

There’s Cost - And Then There’s Value

"Can I even afford this?"

We’ve been waiting for this question. Because as good as it all sounds, everything comes with a price.

There’s a great misconception that senior care is free, and that the government covers all the costs. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Provincial governments generally provide some funding for home care and for long term care, but you’ll usually have to pay at least part of the cost. For retirement residences, it’s generally all on you. These costs can range widely, so it's a good idea to do your homework.

But before you start figuring out ballpark costs, we’ve got a question for you: what do you value? Costs related to a lifestyle change such as this are much more complex than what you’ll see on a spreadsheet. There are many things to consider, so let’s examine a few of them.

What do you value? Costs related to a lifestyle change such as this are much more complex than what you’ll see on a spreadsheet.

Home Care Costs

For a variety of reasons, some seniors choose to stay in their home as long as possible. If you decide that’s best for you, or best for you right now, that’s okay. But if one of your reasons for staying in your home is that you are concerned about the cost of moving into senior living, the reality may surprise you.

Let’s assume you’re in a house, and it’s mortgage-free. All that’s left for you to pay are the taxes, insurance, general upkeep, utility bills and your monthly expenses. The house itself may be in good shape, but if you’re spending most of your time on the main floor, avoiding the stairs because of mobility concerns, your home may need some accessibility upgrades. A lift for the stairs, a chair in the tub, handrails: all of these are upgrades that could cost you a few thousand dollars. You may also need to pay someone to cut the grass, remove the snow and do odd jobs around the house to keep things in order.

Then there’s care – as your needs evolve, you may need more support. While home care is an option, you will want to consider what this means for you. Generally speaking, if you use funded government support services, those agencies decide who receives care, the number of care hours required, and for how long. There are often special programs for people with lower incomes (if you qualify), but keep in mind these don’t necessarily cover everything. If you find you need more help and the funding doesn’t cover the hours, you may need to explore the option of paying for a private care provider.

These are the obvious costs of remaining in your own home. There’s also the social side to consider. Are you surrounded by friends and neighbours, or are you finding yourself spending much of your time alone — with your closest friends no longer living nearby and your family spread out. It is important to weigh the cost of staying home with the cost of other options, like moving into a Revera retirement residence or long term care home.

Retirement Living Costs

When you choose to live in a retirement community, you also have the opportunity to choose which suite you like and which services and care options you need. All of these choices help determine how much you pay; for most seniors living at a Revera retirement home it works out to about $3,000 - $5,500 per month. Revera also has some retirement residences that cost more per month, for those looking for a luxury experience.

Retirement living is a welcome, affordable option for seniors who no longer want to worry about the upkeep or expenses associated with maintaining their home. In a retirement home, you not only have a suite of your own that you’ve chosen, you have delicious meals, social activities, a thriving environment and the ability to let someone else think about mundane tasks like cleaning, so that you can focus on what matters to you most. You also have the comfort of knowing that you have access to the care and support you need to manage your health, through onsite or visiting care professionals. In some cases, you can also choose to bring in government-funded or private services.

Long Term Care Costs

The costs of long term care are shared by the resident and the government. Typically, residents pay for their accommodations, while the government covers the costs of things like care, food, programming and certain medications. Some provinces offer private pay options.

Rates for all types of long term care accommodations are established by the provincial government; rate subsidies may be available for ward accommodation. The range for the resident accommodation portion is typically between $1,000 and $3,000 per month, depending on factors such as which type of room you choose, the province you live in, your income and the age of the facility. In some provinces, lower-income residents may be eligible for additional financial support. For information, please contact the appropriate provincial agency or one of Revera’s long term care homes.

As you think about the cost of long term care, keep in mind what long term care homes offer – available around-the-clock care for people with complex chronic conditions and/or cognitive challenges such as dementia in a safe and secure environment. Programs at Revera long term care homes are designed to support mind, body and spirit, with complex care, such as rehabilitation, wound care and specialized dementia care, delivered by on-staff healthcare professionals.

Like most things in life, no matter which direction you decide to go, cost is a factor in senior living. Your situation, your needs, your choices, are uniquely yours. How much it all costs will be unique to you too. Where the costs and the value your choice brings to your life meet – that is the sweet spot.