Retirement living: What does it cost?

Can I afford retirement living?

The truth is, there is no easy way to answer this commonly asked question.

Many people experience ‘sticker shock’ when they first hear the cost of living in a retirement community. We understand it’s hard to comprehend paying a monthly fee when you have worked so hard to be mortgage free. Often, people unfairly compare the costs of retirement living to the cost of living at home when things were going well: the truth is, you will consider retirement living when you have a need – be it for care, meal preparation, for safety or access to social activities.

As a homeowner, you know living at home isn’t free. There are additional costs associated with these services.

Let’s break it down:

You likely pay for insurance, taxes, property maintenance and improvements. You pay for utilities, landscaping and groceries, to name a few. Sometimes the house needs a new water heater or air conditioner. So, how much is home ownership actually costing you? You’ll need to crunch the numbers to understand what it requires.

If you believe that it’s cheaper to age in place at home, don’t forget to consider the additional costs of possibly modifying your house. These costs may be relatively small – adding grab bars in the bathroom, turning a tub into a shower or removing tripping hazards. But these changes can also include costlier modifications such as installing lifts or ramps, widening doorways or remodeling your home so everything is on one floor.

Aging in place at home also means preparing to pay for home-care providers if necessary. The average cost of home-care ranges based on the province and it’s important to do your research.

The cost of retirement living isn’t ‘one size fits all.’

The cost of retirement living differ in the same way each person’s homeownership costs vary.

At Seasons, in particular, costs are dependent on location, suite size and level of care. With this in mind, it can be hard for Seasons to express exact prices on our website or in collateral. It is equally challenging to convey the value of living in a retirement community versus living at home.  This is why we encourage people to visit one of our communities and speak with a Leasing Manager or General Manager. Once we understand your particular needs, we can determine what the specific cost would be for you.

Keep in mind when you move to a senior living community, homeownership costs like taxes, utilities, meals and repairs are all covered by your monthly service fee. Additionally, meal plans, social activities, entertainment, fitness classes and scheduled transportation are all covered by your monthly payment. Put simply; the monthly fee includes services and amenities that make everyday living easier. Also, when you choose retirement living, instead of aging in place at home, you’ll have direct access to care services if your needs change. 

The imperfect science of comparing costs.

We have provided a Cost Comparison chart on our website. Its purpose is to encourage people to consider the costs they are currently paying versus what it might cost to make a move to a retirement setting.

Some people may disagree with the dollar amounts we have attributed to different expenses. We acknowledge that it is an imperfect example because it considers an average cost spent by Canadian adults in general, not just seniors who are ‘ready’ for retirement living. Presently, this is the only reliable data we have access to. Furthermore, costs spent will always vary by the individual and by region.

Prices are shown as dollar figures that can’t accurately represent the value of retirement living. Many residents have told us they wished they moved to Seasons sooner because of the significant benefits retirement living provides, such as knowing someone is always available should they need help.

Retirement living is likely more affordable than you think.

For some people, all the costs of aging at home are worth it. But, if you’d like to consider alternatives, spend some time researching your local senior living community before completely writing it off based on cost alone. When compared to the actual costs of homeownership briefly outlined above, retirement living can be surprisingly reasonable.  Once you carefully consider all of your options, you may find that Seasons is more affordable than you think.