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Difference between Long-Term Care & Retirement Residence

July 24, 2020

There is often confusion about the differences between what a retirement residence and a long-term care residence offers. The following may help to simplify the differences.



Retirement residences offer a variety of amenities to set the stage for a comfortable and caring home to live in. The senior may still drive and even work. They just don’t want to manage a large home or do the chores. The person may need a little support or more care that is appropriate for them. Many retirement residents often allow you to age in place. The activities vary from pub crawls, Zumba, seated cycling classes, memory fitness, to fidget blankets and daily living tasks.

Long-term care (LTC) has a more simplified list of amenities to provide quality of life in a physical barrier free environment. The activities will include social and therapeutic aspects to meet the varying levels of their needs. These residents tend to have more advanced or complex health conditions.



Retirement residents offer different levels of care from one home to another. It’s important to be specific about where the struggles are so that they can understand and determine if they can meet your needs.

  • Independent (were meals, housekeeping, linen laundry is done for you).
  • Supportive (you pick the service you would like help with)
  • Assisted (physical assistance for all personal care with 1 person)
    • Mechanical lift (not offered at all homes)
  • Memory living (cueing and physical support along with activities in a secure & comfortable environment for those with a cognitive impairment)
  • Palliative (end of life comforts with your family)

LTC meets a higher need for their residents; They can be physical or cognitive related. Increased needs such as; behaviours, feeding, complex conditions. Are also supported.


Operated by:

Retirement residences are typically owned by private owners or corporate chains. They operate for profit. There are a few not for profit within each region to accommodate everyone’s preference and price point. Retirement residence are not subsidized by the province and therefore have a higher price point. The size & location of the suite, level of care, the services included, proximity of competition, amenities will all impact the price.


LTC are operated by the province, corporate entities and some not for profit. LTC is heavily subsidized. They will take into account income and adjust accordingly.


Wait list

Retirement home wait lists are managed by the home itself. Ask the home’s representative for how they manage their list. Each home will be different.

LTC wait lists are managed by the Local Integrated Health Network (LIHN). A case worker will assist you with the application, do an assessment with a medical profile from your Doctor and determine if you are appropriate at the time of the assessment to be added to the list. You and your case work will select homes that are appropriate for you, based on region, preferences and timing.  Many homes can have wait times of 2 or more years. If a crisis situation arises you must contact your case worker to have a re-assessment completed to identify the change in needs. You will then be asked to ensure that you have 5 homes and at least 2 with short lists on your application.


Selecting which ones is most appropriate takes some guidance from those in the healthcare field. If there is a heavy physical care and limited financial funds, then LTC is best. If lifestyle is more of the focus, support and care is secondary then retirement residence is the solution.

No matter which one is best, remember to look at 3 things:

  • Location: That Is close to the people and things that are important to you.
  • Care: Is there a capability to offer immediate and future care needs.
  • Environment: Will I be surrounded by people and activities that will keep me happy and engaged.

If you are struggling with a decision which is best, please call Julie at 613.963.5000 to review your options.


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Orchard View Mississippi

219 Paterson Street
Almonte, Ontario
K0A 1A0



Orchard View by the Mississippi
219 Paterson Street
Almonte, Ontario
K0A 1A0


Phone: (613) 963-5000

Fax: (613) 256-6000


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