Planning for long-term care

As you move towards retirement, with all its exciting possibilities and challenges, the last thing on your mind may be planning for long-term care. However, changes in your health can occur suddenly and at any time. It’s wise to look ahead and plan for the unexpected so you can make the most of the resources available to you.

What is long-term care?

Long-term care includes a variety of medical and non-medical services and accommodations you may require due to aging, illness, injury or disability. These services and accommodations can help you maintain your quality of life. Long-term care can take place in the home or community, a retirement home or in a long-term care facility.

  • Home or community care – If you wish to remain in your own home for as long as possible, you can apply for government subsidized home care. A care coordinator will determine the number hours of home care you are eligible for each week. And if you feel you need more hours, you could pay $25-$60 an hour out-of-pocket. You can learn more about accessing home or community care here.
  • Retirement home and assisted living care – If you are independent, but no longer wish to live in your current home, you may choose to move into a retirement or assisted living home. These privately-owned residences provide accommodation, meals and activities, but are not covered by government subsidies. Costs range from $1500-$6000 per month depending on where you live and the type of accommodation you choose. You can learn more about retirement homes or assisted living care here.
  • Long-term care facility – When you can no longer live independently, and need 24-hour care or supervision, you can apply for long-term facility care. These facilities (also called nursing homes, municipal homes for the aged or charitable homes) are operated by the provincial government. While the province pays for your care, you are still required to pay for your accommodation. As of July 1, 2019, the province’s monthly maximum rate is $1,891.31 for a basic ward room, $2,280.04 a month for a semi-private room and $2,701.61 for a private room. You can learn more about long-term facility care here.

Preparing for long-term care


  • Long-term care costs could be significant, so it’s important to think about saving and identifying funds that could be used for your care. If possible, talk to a financial advisor who can help you create a financial planFinancial plan Your financial plan should cover every aspect of your finances: saving and investing, paying down debt, insurance, taxes, retirement planning and estate planning.+ read full definition for long-term care. One funding option you may wish to explore is long-term care insurance, a living benefit that can cover a portion of your long-term care costs.
  • Ensure that all your legal documentation, including powers of attorney for property and personal care are kept up to date. You should also consider documenting your personal wishes and choices concerning your care. Store these documents in one location, accessible to those who need them.
  • If you want to remain independent in your own home, ensure it remains a good fit for you as you age and if your health changes. Research the availability and cost of assistive devices and home modifications to ensure you can live safely and securely on your own.

The benefits of planning ahead


  • Planning for the possibility of long-term care gives you time to learn about the services available in your community and what they cost before you need them.
  • It allows you to make important decisions while you are still capable, both physically and mentally.
  • Family and care professionals will know your care wishes, should you be unable to communicate them yourself.
  • By thinking ahead, you have the time to explore options available to you to pay for long-term care.


The best time to plan for long-term care is before you need it.

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