How to Pay for Assisted Living in Canada

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When it comes to living and taking care of personal needs, most people make arrangements that will enable them to get the best care. Others get this sort of arrangement done by their family. Assisted living is one such arrangement for people who generally need support to carry out their daily activities.

Navigating the enormous number of assisted living options available might be challenging for most people new to the world of assisted living facilities. So it is necessary to be well-informed about assisted living in Canada.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a housing option for independent adults with basic needs, people living with disabilities, or people who just need help with daily living. Generally, it is designed to provide supported accommodation to individuals who may require assistance with daily personal care and duties but do not require the professional care provided at a long-term care home.

Alternatively, it is also for people who may require assistance with daily living in the future. Usually, these communities come in different shapes and sizes. So, picking a suitable assisted living option depends on your budget and the kind of care you want.

Features of Assisted Living in Canada

Below are some of the features of assisted living:

  • House maintenance 
  • Laundry
  • Showering, dressing, etc.
  • Assist with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, dressing, and housekeeping.
  • Programs and classes for exercise
  • Food provision/dining/feeding
  • Various social activities
  • Aided support getting to and fro and fro public events and personal appointments.

Unlike retirement and long-term homes, assisted living does not include advanced services such as regular monitoring, medication administration, rehabilitative care, memory care, and other comprehensive senior care services. Retirement or long-term care homes are ideal for individuals who might be able to care for themselves to an extent but can’t live alone or just want to belong to a community. 

Cost of Assisted Living in Canada

Generally, the monthly cost of assisted living in Canada varies from CA$1,500 to CA$6,000. Several factors determine the cost of assisted living in Canada, some of which include:

  • Luxuriousness
  • The location
  • Services are needed.
  • Apartment Dimensions
  • Residence style

How to Pay for Assisted Living

Assisted living cost is not determined by the government. The facility itself establishes the price, and prospective clients are expected to pay out-of-pocket. Assisted Living facilities have different payment options they can use to ease the burden of the expenses. Among them are:

Government Benefits

Government benefits available for retiring individuals in Canada include the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), and Medicaid Pay. They are all sources of income available to individuals aged 60 and above and can be used to pay for assisted living.

  1. Old Age Security (OAS)

This government benefit is designed for Seniors. You can start receiving this fund once you turn 65, and it comprises of three other benefits:

  1. Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

GIS Offers monthly non-taxable benefits to qualifying OAS pension recipients. Individuals with a low income living in Canada are eligible for this benefit.

  1. Spousal Allowance

This benefit is only accessible to the spouses or common-law partners of GIS recipients.

Other significant government benefits include:

  • Disability Tax Credit (DTC)

DTC is a government-funded program that offers monetary support to people living with a disability in Canada. It comprises the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) and the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

The disability tax credit serves as a means of support for people with disabilities and their families. It is designed to help offset any extra fees attached with having any severe and persistent disability, physical or mental that hinders a person’s ability to carry out at least one basic activity of daily living.

  • Survivor Allowance

Survivor allowance applies only to seniors with a low income living in Canada and whose spouse or common-law partner is deceased.

  • Medicaid pay 

Medicaid is a federal-state partnership program designed to help low-income and asset-poor people pay for health care, including long-term care. The guidelines vary according to your province in Canada.

Note that not all assisted living facilities accept Medicaid payments. And facilities that do are subject to periodic inspections to ensure that they meet the federal standards established by the province.

  • Canada Pension Plan Benefits (CPP)

Generally, CPP is a monthly benefit for individuals who have contributed to this plan throughout their working lives. It also comprises CPP Post-Retirement Benefit, CPP Disability Pension, and CPP Survivor’s Pension.

Individuals within age 65 may be eligible to receive full CPP once they meet the eligibility criteria. Those below 65 get to receive half payment and an increment for anyone aged 70 and above.

Personal Savings and Investments

Money generated while working can be used to fund assisted living. Some of these funds can be gotten from:

  • Personal savings

A person’s savings can include money saved up on Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), savings-investment, or equity on a home.

  • Renting

Renting your home or space is another way to generate income to offset payment for assisted living.

  • Family and friends

Family and friends can come together to raise funds to support your assisted living payment. In some cases, religious institutions and NGOs also help families pay for assisted living.

Annuities

These are insurance contracts that offer a fixed income for a person’s lifetime or a stipulated period. It can be assessed with a lump sum or a series of part payments. Generally, annuities are used to fund retirement. Some of these insurance contracts could include:

  • Long-term Care Insurance 

Long-term care insurance (LTCI) is a private insurance policy covering elder care expenses, such as assisted living. Like that of a health insurance policy, the cost of a premium fluctuates substantially based on criteria such as the insured’s health, age, and level of coverage.

  • Life insurance settlement 

A life insurance settlement is a financial alternative designed by financial institutions. This program transforms an existing life insurance policy into cash that people can use to pay for long-term care services. A third party buys the policy for a cash payout that is often above the policy’s initial value but lower than the death benefit amount.

Tax Credits

Individuals who qualify may be eligible for some tax credits, and the veteran affairs benefit is one of such credits.

  • Veterans affairs benefit

Veteran affair benefit is an enhanced pension amount given to qualifying soldiers and surviving spouses who need aid with daily living activities (ADLs), including bathing, dressing, toileting, and eating. 

  • Tax exemption

Tax exemption is another excellent way to pay for assisted living in Canada. Review your taxes to ensure you are leveraging all the tax exemptions and credits you are eligible for.

Loans and Mortgage

  • Reverse mortgage 

A reverse mortgage is only possible if the institutionalized elder’s spouse or another co-borrower on loan still lives in the house and keeps it up to date according to the loan conditions.

  • Bridge loan 

Bridge loans are usually the last option for people. It is a short-term loan that may be suitable for people whose financial circumstances prevent them from moving to long-term care.

Pros of Assisted Living

  • Help with daily activities such as menu planning, bathing, and grooming, and getting dressed in the morning.
  • People’s requirements vary as they age, and most reputable assisted living facilities will have to adjust to these changes. It may be difficult for elderlies to maintain their houses, so they are relieved of this load when choosing an assisted living facility.
  • An assisted living facility can double as a home for most elderlies as they can live in a space designed to feel like home while maintaining their privacy. 
  • There is plenty of opportunities to socialize if one so desires. The majority of assisted living homes have planned activities to keep their clients occupied.
  • Most assisted living facilities do an excellent job of keeping residents active and entertained by offering various programs. Outside excursions, gaming evenings, exercise courses, crafts and hobbies, and even dance are usually available in their schedule.

Cons of Assisted Living

  • For some persons, adjusting to living in a community with different people and following the facility’s regulations can be challenging.
  • They’ll also have to follow a set of regulations, such as following a suggested diet. When it comes to living a life of rules, persons who have never had to do so before may find it difficult.
  • There will not be substantial medical care offered at most assisted living institutions, as there would be in a nursing home. 
  • Assisted living can be relatively expensive for most people as Medicare does not always cover it.
  • Assisted living facilities sometimes only provide a limited number of activities in their monthly fees. Personal care services, such as laundry or medicine reminders, are paid in addition to monthly payments.

Conclusion 

Before picking an assisted living facility in Canada, it is advisable to consider long-term care needs, finance, daily assistance they may require, and any benefits or subsidies they may be qualified for.

There are various funding alternatives available, so it is best to weigh all options before settling for the one that fits your situation. You can always contact a representative in any of the facilities you are applying to learn more.

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Avid researcher, freelance writer, and personal finance enthusiast passionate about financial education and literacy.

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Kareena Maya

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Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.

Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.