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Looking for information on not-for-profit long term care homes, housing and community services for seniors? Let us help guide you in understanding the system in Ontario so you can make the decisions that are right for you.

What options are available?

The range of supports and services for seniors in Ontario is extensive and can be intimidating for you or if someone you care about is needing support or assistance in their daily lives. Generally speaking, there are three areas to consider, and there are OANHSS members to serve you in each section.

Seniors' housing
Home and community services 
Long term care homes 
(for information on finding out how to access the services listed below go to "Where Do I Start")

There are a number of housing options seniors can choose from but the availability varies from community to community:

  • Seniors'/Social Housing
    Independent living but in an atmosphere conducive to seniors - includes non-profit, public, and co-op housing. The purpose is to provide affordable housing for people with low to moderate incomes.
  • Adult Lifestyle Communities
    Small homes or condominium-style dwellings, geared to the needs of independent seniors, built in an area usually close to other services and amenities.
  • Supportive Housing
    Designed for people who only need minimal to moderate care -- such as homemaking or personal care and support – to live independently. Accommodations usually consist of rental units within an apartment building.
  • Life Lease
    A relatively new housing option that is somewhat similar to condominium style living but residents neither rent nor own the unit - they purchase a "right to occupy" - most life lease projects are operated by not-for-profits.
  • Retirement Homes
    Generally designed for seniors who are able to manage and pay for their own care. May be operated on a not-for-profit basis, but generally run as for-profit businesses - there is no government funding or regulations.

more on seniors' housing...

Home and Community Services

Each community in Ontario has its own selection of available services. User fees usually apply. They may include:

  • Visiting Health Professional Services
    Professionals that help people maintain or improve their health, or teach people to care for themselves - includes nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, speech-language pathologists and dietitians.
  • Personal Care and Support
    Refers to the help you can get with a range of essential daily living activities such as personal hygiene, assistance with eating, transferring and positioning, escorting to appointments, etc.
  • Homemaking
    Help with routine household activities including meal preparation, shopping, light housecleaning, laundry, banking, etc.
  • Community Support Services
    In addition to those listed above there are a range of other services that may be available in the community such as: transportation, meal services, home maintenance and repair, friendly visiting, security checks, foot care, caregiver support, respite care, home help, emergency response systems, etc.

more on community services...

Long Term Care Homes

Funded and regulated by the provincial government and generally for those for whom there is no longer sufficient support for them to live independently in the community. People living in a home pay a fee for accommodation, which is set by the government and is based on the type of accommodation chosen (e.g. basic/standard, semi-private or private).

  • Municipal and Charitable Homes
    Both municipal and charitable homes are operated on a not-for-profit basis. Charitable homes are usually owned by non-profit corporations, such as faith, community, ethnic or cultural groups. Municipal homes are owned by municipal councils. Municipalities are required to operate a long term care home in their area, either on their own or in partnership with a neighbouring municipality.
  • Nursing Homes
    Operated primarily on a for-profit basis although there are some that are owned by non-profit corporations such as faith, community, ethnic or cultural groups.

Features of these long term care homes include:

  • care provided on a 24-hour basis: supervision of medications, bathing, dietitian-supervised meals, nursing care including complex care such as oxygen therapy, help with dressing and grooming, provision of available therapies for rehabilitation (speech, physiotherapy, etc.).
  • daily provision of special activities for the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of residents.
  • may provide "respite" care through short stays in the home to give everyone a rest from giving care at home.
  • funded by the province, the residents, and in the case of not-for-profits, by their municipalities and charities.

more on long term care homes...

Helpful Weblinks

2012 OANHSS Annual Report