In Ontario, retirement living communities (also known as senior living communities) are very different from long-term care homes. The distinctions between them may not be clear to some people though, and that’s not entirely surprising. After all, why would you understand the difference unless someone in your family has lived in one or the other? So, what is the difference between them? Here are the things to know about each type of community.

Senior Living Communities

  1. Independence and Autonomy: Senior living communities are designed for active and relatively independent seniors who wish to maintain their autonomy while receiving the benefits of the amenities and services provided by the community. Residents typically live in private apartments or villas, fostering a sense of individuality and privacy.
  2. Amenities and Services: These communities boast an array of amenities and services tailored to enhance residents’ quality of life. Such amenities often include fitness centres, libraries, scheduled social events, and on-site dining. Services may include regularly scheduled and on demand transportation services, housekeeping, maintenance, and more.
  3. Care Levels: While senior living communities do provide certain support services as mentioned above, they are not equipped to deliver extensive medical or personal care. Residents should be able to manage most of their daily activities independently. Levante Living offers a la carte care services so that as your needs increase over time, you add the services you need without having to move. Learn more about Levante Thrive for Wellness.
  4. Social Engagement: Socialization and community engagement play a significant role in senior living communities. Residents have ample opportunities to connect with peers through various recreational activities, clubs, and outings, all of which promote their mental and emotional well-being.
  5. Cost: The cost of living in senior living communities tends to be higher compared to long-term care homes due to the added amenities and services.

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Long-Term Care Homes

  1. 24/7 Medical Care: Long-term care homes are specialized facilities that provide around-the-clock medical care and support for seniors with complex health conditions or those who require significant assistance with daily living activities. These daily activities may include medication assistance, bathing, grooming, and dressing.
  2. Qualified Staff: These homes are staffed with skilled healthcare professionals, including nurses, personal support workers, and therapists, who cater to residents’ diverse medical and personal care needs.
  3. Safety and Accessibility: Long-term care homes are designed with a focus on accessibility for residents with mobility challenges or medical requirements. Safety features including grab bars, handrails, walk-in showers, alert systems, and security monitoring are found in these communities for the comfort and peace of mind of the residents and their loved ones.
  4. Accommodations: Residents typically live in single rooms with limited space for personal belongings. Furnishings including beds and seating are appropriate for a medical setting.
  5. Wait Times and Eligibility: Access to long-term care homes is subject to eligibility criteria. There may be considerable wait times, as the demand for such specialized care can be high.
  6. Government Funding and Standards: Long-term care homes in Ontario are primarily funded and regulated by the government, which helps ensure a certain standard of care for residents.

Choosing between a senior living community and a long-term care home in Ontario depends on individual needs and preferences. Senior living communities cater to those who desire a more independent lifestyle with access to various amenities and social activities. On the other hand, long-term care homes offer comprehensive medical care and assistance for seniors with complex health conditions or those who require constant support.

See for Yourself

The best way to truly understand whether a senior living community is a good fit for you or someone you know is to visit one. Contact one of our communities near you. We’d be happy to show you around. Download our Family Decision Toolkit for tips on making the best senior living decision.


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Contact Levante Living about your senior living needs in Canada.

At Levante, we are as passionate about our residents as we are about delivering a level of care that will exceed your expectations.

For more information, please fill out the form and a Levante representative will get back to you as soon as possible to answer all your questions and offer you expert guidance and support.