How to Research Older Adult Housing Options

Updated: Apr 28

You’ve decided it’s time to downsize and begin to think about your next home. Where do you start your research? Typically our clients choose to move to one of the following: smaller home, a condo, seniors apartment, active adult lifestyle community or a retirement residence. Below are some suggestions and resources to help you research and narrow down your options.


1. Smaller Home or Condo

If a smaller home or condo is what you’re seeking then Realtor.ca is a good way to find what’s available in your desired area. Be sure to consider proximity to amenities, shopping, services, transportation as you may need easy access to all of the above as your personal mobility and ability to drive changes. Also, consider the layout of your new home with respect to size of doorways, accessibility of washrooms and the kitchen, locations of light switches and electrical sockets, as well as ease of access to parking.

2. Seniors Apartments

Seniors apartments are a newer concept in the housing marketplace and are characterized by apartment buildings that house mostly older adults who want to live independently, but the residents look out for one another and pool resources to obtain services they would like as a community i.e. meal preparation, exercise classes, support workers etc. Visit this CBC article to learn more about one such program called OASIS. This is a great option if you want a bit of assistance from time to time but want to live independently.

The challenge is that there aren’t a large number of these buildings yet, but given the demographic shift ahead for Canada and increasing government support for these types of communities (as they are an economical way to provide safe and vibrant communities for older Canadians) hopefully more will be set-up in the near future.

If you are interested in researching these options for the GTA, TorontoCentralHealthline.ca is a good place to start. If you are searching for outside the GTA, simply enter a Google search for “Seniors apartments “x”, where x is the city or town near you to see what options are available. Be sure to check out the services offered and associated costs as they vary from one building to the next.

In addition, some retirement residences are starting to offer seniors apartments or condos on or nearby their premises in order to provide step-up care models, whereby residents can live independently but take advantage of the meal plans and amenities of the retirement community to the degree they wish. Sometimes living in these buildings also gives them priority for moving into the retirement residence when they feel they need more care.

The price point on these units can range from market rent in the area where you are searching, while some are subsidized models, and a retirement community level option can be more expensive depending on the amenity package you’d like to take advantage of.

3. Active Adult Lifestyle Communities These are more structured communities, often on the periphery of large urban centres set-up much like gated communities, that often offer a variety of housing options including: condos, apartments, townhouses, and/or detached bungalows. These communities offer resort style, independent carefree living with neighbours of similar age and at a similar stage of life. The communities often have a security component (gated entry) and some offer common areas and/or amenities i.e. a clubhouse offering a variety of social activities, a pool, tennis courts, golf course etc. Examples in the areas surrounding the GTA include, Briar Hill Community near Alliston, Swan Lake Village in Markham among others listed here.

4. Retirement Residences

Retirement Residences are full-service communities that offer meal preparation, housekeeping, transportation, activities as well as nursing care to varying degrees. Comfort life and ORCA (Ontario Retirement Community Association) are great resources for researching older adult living options throughout Ontario. An important note about researching Retirement Community options, is that we recommend you do your research early. Often there are waiting lists for the suite type that you are interested in and the wait times can be months and even over a year long. If you register early, you can be notified when suites you like become available and have the option to decline, however if you wait to register until you want to move, it could delay your move timeline.

If you feel that a retirement community might be the right choice for you, the following is a summary of the benefits of moving to one. See the Seniorszen.com blog here for more details on each reason:

  1. Affordable

  2. Social

  3. Care & Support

  4. Piece of Mind

  5. Health & Wellness

  6. No Home Maintenance

  7. Healthy Meal Preparation

  8. Transportation

  9. Relaxing

  10. Perfect Time to Downsize

According to a report published in June 2017 by Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the average monthly costs in Ontario for a retirement residence suite were:

  • Studio - $3,400

  • One Bedroom - $3,918

  • Two Bedroom - $6,005

Researching your new home options can seem overwhelming at first, but hopefully the resources above are helpful for navigating your search.

If you’d like to learn how Gordon’s can support you with advice as you search for your new home and then help you smoothly make your move, contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation.