This is the second post in a three-part series on the costs of care for seniors. In the first post, we looked at the various options available to seniors: retirement homes, assisted living, long term care homes (LTC), and in-home caregiving. In this second post, we will take a more in-depth look at how much these different options cost.

Costs of Care: Costs of Retirement Homes and Assisted Living

costs of care - Home care TorontoThe monthly costs of retirement homes is largely dependent upon the size of suite, the amenities available in the home, and whether the residence is for-profit or not-for-profit.  Of course, assisted living packages in retirement homes increase in costs concurrent with the level of care needed. The acclaimed Christie Gardens not-for-profit retirement home has monthly rates starting at $2400 for independent living in a one-bedroom suite, and rates beginning at $4500 for full assisted living.

Large chain for-profit retirement homes, such as Revera, which offer lovely accommodation and living, usually start at $3200 per month in the Toronto area. Residences may have 2 or 3 bachelor suites available at a rock-bottom promotional price to prompt you to contact the sales office. You may find though that these suites are already occupied, and have a waiting list of about 2 years. At the much higher end of the scale,you can also find luxurious retirement residences costing upwards of $10,000 per month.

Each retirement home will have a different pricing structure, some prices will include meals and suite cleaning, others won’t.  It is important to collect as much financial information as possible before deciding if it is within your budget.

Rates at North York’s OneKenton, a retirement home specialising in caring for people with Alzheimer’s Disease, begin at $6,700 with assisted living included in the price. For residents needing intensive one-on-one care while in a very dependent state of health (needing feeding, possible two person transfers) or approaching end-of-life, a Health Care Aid can be hired from the home at a rate of $50 per hour.

Costs of care: Costs of Long Term Care (LTC) Homes

Government subsidized long term care (LTC) facilities cost roughly $1,900 to $2,300 per month.  For some of the more popular Toronto LTC homes, the wait list (managed by the CCAC) is 2 years or longer.  Wait times can sometimes be shortened if the senior is willing to take a semi-private room, rather than a private room.

Priority can also be given to a senior in the event of a crisis. Given the long waiting lists, a family considering a LTC facility should contact the CCAC immediately to begin the application process to increase the chances of a room being available when needed.

With one staff caregiver to every 14 or 20 residents during the night, the family of a senior who is active during sleeping hours at a LTC facility may need to hire a private caregiver for one-on-one care.  Rates for hiring a private caregiver will range from about $22.00 to $29.00 per hour in the Toronto area. Families are often unaware that many people in LTC facilities also hire private caregivers.The monthly cost for 8 hours per day of private care is $5,500 to $6,700.

This substantial addition to the cost of care is often overlooked when making financial forecasts before moving into the LTC facility. Family members can always come and help out if hiring a private caregiver is not appealing. However, family caregivers are often already exhausted and frequently cannot help as much as they would like.The cost of care in a LTC home can be therefore very high.

Costs of care: Home Care

The costs of home care, of course, depend on the amount of care and the level of care required. Homecare needs can range from light housekeeping and meal preparation to 24-hour around-the-clock care.  A 3-hour weekly housekeeping service (laundry, light housework, changing beds, and preparing a meal) would cost about $75. Services of this kind performed by a specially trained personal support worker (PSW),such as bathing, dressing, and changing incontinence briefs, are charged at a slightly higher rate.

Three hours a day (7 days a week) of homecare by a personal support worker (3 hours in the morning to get mom up, breakfasted, showered, helped with medication, dressed, groomed, dishes done and a load of laundry in the washer) would cost approximately $2425 per month.

Costs of care: Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia incur the highest costs for care.  As people with dementia progress through the disease, their physical health may still be good, but they will nevertheless lose the ability to take care of themselves. Family caregivers may face many years of caring for a loved one whose body is still functioning but whose mind and personality are continually degenerating.

In these circumstances, family caregivers may reach the point of exhaustion, and need to call on the services of a residential care home or a private in-home caregiver with special training in dementia care.

All varieties of care for seniors—retirement homes, assisted living, long term care homes, and in-home care—can be expensive. In the next post, we will look at different approaches to funding the quality care that families wish to provide for parents, grandparents, and other loved ones in their later years.