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The difference between retirement and long term care homes

Understand your options
As we get older our needs change. Sometimes we require some extra assistance with tasks that used to be routine, and other times we just can’t be bothered to do those tasks ourselves. Whether you’re tired of cutting grass in the summer, shoveling in the winter or require additional health support to improve your quality of life and keep you safe there are many options available to suit your wants and needs. When you get to the stage where you think a change may be beneficial, it’s important to understand the difference between a retirement residence and a long term care home.

The terms retirement home and long term care home are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably, but the differences between the two are vast. The biggest difference is in the level of care provided to support residents. At a retirement home, residents are independent and the options available reflect that. At a long term care home, residents require 24/7 clinical support to meet their health needs because they and their families are no longer able to safely provide the care at home.
“Recognizing the time to make the move to a retirement home or a long term care home can be an emotional challenge for families, especially for the individual.”
Retirement residences or seniors homes offer flexibility to allow residents to focus their time and energy doing the things they enjoy. They take away the concerns of home upkeep and daily chores and provide opportunities for residents to do more of what they like – socialize, volunteer, focus on fitness, enjoy daily home cooked meals, pub nights, dance classes and much more. There are also some care options available to support people who may need some extra assistance. At a retirement residence, the final decision for what one does or doesn’t do is up to the resident as it’s all about offering as many options for residents to choose from.

At a long term care home, the focus is on improving a residents’ quality of life by meeting their care needs. Residents who require long term care are referred by a health professional as they require a high level of care in a constantly supervised and curated environment. For example, residents could be in the advanced stages of dementia and be at risk of wandering, forgetting meals and medications, or could require professional support to help them through the stages of their disease. Other residents may have suffered a medical emergency such as a stroke that has left them unable to care for their own needs. Long term care homes focus on the needs of the individual to give them the best quality of life possible.

Apart from the levels of care offered, the residents of retirement homes and long term care homes can vary in age as well. In retirement homes, residents tend to be in the range of 70 to more than 100 years old. At long term care homes, health needs determine whether a person is eligible and as a result, residents can come from a much wider age range.

There are many other differences between retirement residences and long term care homes and it’s important to know them if you are thinking a change would benefit yourself or a loved one. Revera has resources available to help you make an informed decision and our senior living advisors are available to answer any questions you may have when you’re ready to take that next step. Recognizing the time to make the move to a retirement home or a long term care home can be an emotional challenge for families, especially for the individual. However, having your questions answered will make your decision easier.

Learn more about the differences between retirement homes and long term care homes.