Long-Term Care Home Expenses To Consider

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Yesterday Mrs. CBB and I walked home from dropping our son off at school, and long-term expenses came up in conversation.

We’ve already discussed that we don’t need millions of dollars during retirement.

What scares us the most is not knowing how our health will be and whether it will decline quickly.

Many residents in these long-term care homes have no idea where they are.

Almost all of the residents, both Mrs. CBB and I have talked to, want to go home, cry to us because they miss someone or hold our hand while talking about their life story but from the beginning.

Dementia patients work their way back through the years rather than into the future.

It’s almost as if they don’t care who you are but are happy you are there other than the employees.

In a long-term care home each resident is there for a different reason but mainly to be looked after 24/7.

Long-Term Care Home Expenses To Consider in Canada that are not covered.
Long-Term Care Home Expenses To Consider

Dying At Home With Your Spouse

Years ago, a senior in our neighbourhood passed away, and his wife is still living in their home.

She has gardeners who come by weekly, and her driveway is shovelled every day in the winter.

Her husband did the driving, so now she hires people to keep her home clean inside and out.

She pays for a gardener, maid/cleaner, meals and rides to and from doctors or shopping.

If she’s healthy enough to stay home, then you might as well do it.

What kills me is that many people who have money to spend don’t get the chance.

We are stuck on having enough money to retire that we forget to live life.

Trust me. When you’re on an operating table or given so long to live, you won’t have that chance.

Long-Term Care Planning To Help The Transition

Enjoy your retirement if you are healthy; use a retirement budget if that helps you with your finances.

Not all retirees have a good pension or investments, so relying on the government and savings, if any, makes money tight.

If you end up in a long-term care facility, some residents are runners and need to wear an ankle bracelet for tracking.

Loneliness and depression are not uncommon for folks waiting to die and need 24/7 care.

The ability to hire a PSW or care visitor may sound odd, but it’s a blessing to a senior with bad health.

Senior looking at photos on a mobile phone with her caregiver
Senior looking at photos on a mobile phone with her caregiver

I’m sharing the long-term care expenses while staying in a facility that some people don’t know.

We didn’t learn about long-term expenses until our mother-in-law had to leave her home.

I am sharing our experience of having a relative living in a Canadian long-term care facility.

Note: that what I am about to share with you below about long-term care expenses will differ from home to home.

Moving Into Long-Term Care And Home Expenses

Senior sitting in a  comfortable Lazy Boy recliner chair
Senior sitting in a comfortable Lazy Boy recliner chair

First of all, your love, one won’t want to stay, and it becomes upsetting for everyone.

I wrote the blog post, “How To Create Your Retirement Checklist,” so you get the care you need.

If you’ve got yourself a Will, you can always add to it, so keep it updated as years change and people die or move on from your life.

Many seniors don’t even know where they are living and why they are there. Some will never know.

Being The Voice Of Your Loved One

Whoever the Power of Attorney is should ensure that proper care is taken care of your loved one.

Not all nurses and medical staff do what they are supposed to do.

For example, if you find that your loved one is not being cared for properly, including health and wellness, make a fuss.

Would you please stand up for them because they count on you to be their voice when they do not have one?

Other examples to keep in mind when visiting a loved one are listed below.

  • Not changing bed sheets
  • Checking clothing to make sure it is folded and hung properly as well as clean.
  • Failure to alert any new hires to read who the patient is and their needs
  • Leaving day clothes on and sleeping in them
  • No bedtime routine, brushing hair, teeth and dentures
  • Bruising on your loved one
  • Clean Bathroom including the floors

Those are just a few examples that any family needs to watch for and expect home if something happens.

All of the boxes you ticked off on the long-term care planning list that you did aren’t falling into place.

Often you may have to continue talking to a head nurse about problems you are noticing.

Seniors can be feisty and set in their ways that often they have to influence them with something.

Chocolate works for my MIL all the time.

Perhaps the staff are overworked or hate their job and do it for the money. That’s always a tough place to be in.

All seniors need to be looked after respectively as they pay for the services from their savings.

Just remember that the senior you forget about could be you one day.

Now let’s get into the extra costs involved with living in long-term care.

Beauty Essentials For Men and Women

Most care homes will have emergency beauty essentials for the residents.

Just because a resident is in long-term care doesn’t mean they shouldn’t look their best.

However, not all residents can use them due to allergies or other medical reasons.

Health and Beauty Products Needed For Long-Term Care
Health and Beauty Products Needed For Long-Term Care

For this reason, be prepared to pay for the following:

I’m sure you understand what bare health essentials your loved ones will need, and you’ll learn as you go along.

You may even get a call from a nurse to let you know what your family member needs.

Pharmacy Products Not Covered

Part of a pharmacy bill showing expenses not covered by benefits while in Long-Term Care
Part of a pharmacy bill showing expenses not covered by benefits while in Long-Term Care

Other considerations are cigarettes or Nicorette inhalers and refills and specific vitamins and medications.

If you want to reduce costs, ask the home to purchase the items yourself from the pharmacy.

For example, if your loved one uses an inhaler and refills, buy them during 20X the Optimum points day to save money.

Each month her pharmacy bill stays around $250 and is paid out of pocket.

We’ve also set up an Amazon address so that what we order can get sent right to the care home.

She also pays for her monthly haircut and colour, which costs in the range of $50.

Fortunately, some long-term care homes have a beauty salon for the residents, so they don’t need to leave.

Cable TV/ Internet/ Mobile Phone

If a resident wants cable, internet, or a mobile phone, they have to pay for those services.

Currently, she pays $70 a month for a cable package because she loves hockey and watching soap operas.

Adaptive Clothing For Long-Term Care Residents

Most adaptive clothes that are purchased come from Silverts online as they cater to all types of needs.

They also deliver to Canada and the United States Of America, which is great if you live out of town.

Silverts will also ship the items right to the long-term care facility your loved one resides.

Even seniors who live in long-term care that can get dressed still could use adaptive clothing.

Your pay is worth the money since you don’t have to go looking around the stores.

You’ll also get what is listed below as stated on their website. Silverts is not an affiliate partner of mine, as I love their service.

Join Silverts mail list and be the first to know about Free Shipping, Discount Offers and Rewards Point Events.

Plus, Get 10% off your next online purchase over $50,

Be Frugal When You Need To Be

However, there are some items we have picked up at second-hand shops, such as a winter jacket for $21.99.

Depending on the season, we also look for nice tops that are easy to get on and off and pants.

We do this for my MIL as she tries to be independent, and she is; however, a PSW often helps her.

From Silverts, we buy her bras, shoes and slip-proof slippers, which she can slip on her feet.

Not everyone in long-term care needs help getting dressed and is independent.

Some residents have money and don’t need to purchase used goods.

Staying in a long-term facility, whether private or semi-private, the costs may change year to year.

Plus, it’s not always easy to find the long-term care facility that you’d like.

Visit Long-Term Care Homes

Visiting long-term care homes and nursing homes for tours.
Visiting long-term care homes and nursing homes for tours.

I recommended in the past to tour the long-term care and nursing home facilities to find out which one you like.

Although since Covid-19 I’m not sure if that is possible at the moment but you can drive by.

Perhaps the home has a 360-degree video of the home with lots of photos to look at.

I’d definitely call the home first to ask them if there is protocol in place and whether you can visit.

Letting your power of attorney know your wishes make things easier for them if a note is in the Will.

Soon you will find my Canadian Budget Binder Emergency Binder, which I highly suggest everyone downloads and fills in the paperwork.

I’d store it in a fireproof safe or give it to the lawyer to add to your Will and Power of Attorney.

  • Please allow me to live at “Super Fly Senior Care” as a nursing home and “Show Me The Money” for long-term care.
  • I’d like a private room with cable, internet and laptop plus a mobile phone.

Finding A Room In A Long-Term Care Facility

It often takes time to find an empty room in long-term care, so they usually stay at the hospital.

Being in the hospital drove my MIL to restless hell, and all she wanted was to get out.

Finally, a bed was available in a private room at one of her hometown’s top long-term care facilities.

The room and assistance costs were just over $3000 a month and in a lockdown section.

Government Funding For Long-Term Care Residents

The government cheques CPP (Canada Pension Plan) and OAS (Old Age Security) cover semi-private room costs.

For 2021 the current maximum OAS is $635.26 if you earn less than $129, 757 annually.

You can read all you need to know about OAS at

Not the ideal situation, but fortunately she has enough money for the rest of her life.

Only after six months did a semi-private room become available on the second floor.

She now resides on the upper level, which has an elevator to go up and down on.

Although the costs went down, it made more sense to allow her the freedom to roam around.

Things are far better now that her room feels like home to her, which is what you want.

When she is out with her PSW for a treat and city tour, she has the time of her life.

If there is no family to help you in long-term care, consider hiring someone to look after you.

You would pay for two days out of the long-term care facility with a PSW and pay for whatever the resident wants to buy, eat and drink.

Seeing the smile on her face and the wind blow in her hair tells us she’s happy to get out for a ride.

Although she doesn’t often recognize us right away, or at all, we know that deep in her heart, she remembers.

Decades Of Savings and Investments

In our 40’s was when we started to think about creating a WILL, exploring senior homes and long-term care.

When we were in our 20’s and 30’s our focus was saving money, paying off debt and paying off our home.

Between our 20’s and 40’s we also thought about the costs of being in a nursing home or care facility.

Not all seniors will have enough money to pay for extras while staying in a long-term care facility.

You have to imagine yourself living there and write down where you’d like to stay and how you’d like the treatment you expect—hopefully, treated with kindness.

Each decade feels like we are crossing over into a new line of life and understanding what is needed.

Now that we are in our 40’s we continue to learn about preparations for the future as we head towards that direction.

Seasonal Needs For Winter, Summer, Spring and Fall

When it comes to seasonal needs in a long-term care facility, it’s pretty basic.

  • Shorts
  • bathing suit swimming
  • Pants/slacks
  • Under shirts
  • Winter jacket
  • Fall and Winter sweaters
  • Winter boots,
  • Adaptive shoes
  • Diabetic socks
  • Bras
  • Underwear unless the patient wears Depends diapers
  • Mens undergarments
  • Pjamas
  • Winter gloves
  • Hats

Although it’s cold in the winter, residents who smoke go outside and should be safely dressed.

If you live in town, it may be easier to find these items from the local stores.

Otherwise, we order from Silverts or Amazon, which makes the process much easier.

The home will also assist if something is missing or defective to return it to the business.

Health Benefits For Long-Term Care

Services such as dentist, dentist, denture care, feet care, massage, occupational therapy, and physical therapy are not covered unless you have benefits.

For Mrs. CBB to get physical therapy costs us $125 for 40 minutes; however, my benefits pay 85%.

Prices have increased since Covid-19 when we would pay only $85 a session.

I’m not even sure if the residents can pay for a massage therapist to visit the home.

My MIL has a dental assistant who visits her monthly to clean her teeth and inspect them for problems.

Dental is not a covered benefit for her and is billed $125 for a visit unless she completes a procedure.

Not all residents in long-term care need these services, but if they do, it will cost additional money.

Assistant For Long-Term Care Resident

When you or a loved one are in a long-term care facility and is allowed to leave, it’s always a nice change.

Staring at the same walls day in and day out is not something anyone should have to live.

Even if you have to pay a friend or Personal Support Worker (PSW) to visit, go for a walk or perhaps a drive for their favourite snack.

Communication and interaction with the outside world are like winning the lottery for them.

If you live in the city, try to make time for your loved one each week and go for a visit.

For those of you who are out of town as we are, the helper could put you on messenger video to see your family member.

We’ve been fortunate to have this opportunity, even if it’s only 5 minutes long.

If you pay $20 an hour for a short outing and the cost of a snack, it’s worth it.

Room Camera

If you want to install a room camera, it has to be approved by the home.

We are looking into the best indoor camera we can find, such as EUF indoor camera.

Adding a camera also means having to pay for unlimited internet, increasing costs.

We are still worried about being nosey, but at the same time, she has bruises and has had a few falls.

It could be something such as a PSW pulling on her arms too hard to get her up out of bed.

Her knees are not the best, so she has to take her time getting up.

Now there are notes on her corkboard for nurses and PSW to read before treating.

Furniture For Long-Term Care Room

You don’t need to worry about furniture in long-term care as you get a bed, chair and nightstand.

We purchased the following items for her room, but keep in mind yours may be different.

  • Lazy Boy Remote Recliner 100% leather
  • Touch lamp for her side table so there is no reaching
  • Flat Screen Television with a stand + Cable
  • Stereo with 2 side speakers (she loves music)
  • Real looking baby doll and other stuffed animals
  • Walker
  • Confortable pillow
  • Dirty clothes hamper
  • Hangers for clothing in the closet
  • Two crochet blankets- one for the bed and the other for her chair.

Make The Room Cozy

When she has a visitor, there is nowhere to sit, so we hunt for a second chair.

She has no internet, cell phone or room phone as she doesn’t remember what they do.

Cozy carpets are not allowed as they can be slipping hazards.

Her room is like a home with family photos, wedding photos, grandkids’ photos, and her children. Oh, and me. lol

We also bought her a cross of Jesus Christ as she is a member of the Catholic church and Holy Rosary.

As mentioned, your loved one may need different items, but you can decorate the room to make it feel like home.

Gas Money

If someone is in a long-term care facility paying for gas when being taken out on a drive around the city is again worth it.

A small fee is around $60 a month for this service, but it’s a pocket change for her to see people and places outside the resident’s home.

Food Money

Many resident facilities have snack machines or tiny gift shops, and a bar so the seniors can enjoy a drink or two and buy snacks.

However, a snack cart goes around to each resident in the evening filled with snacks.

For residents with dementia or Alzheimers, sweets are like gold to the patients as they slowly lose their taste.

We were worried about what she ate but thought we’d let her live her life the way she wanted.

So far, she has no problems eating her meals, but she has choked a couple of times.

Now her food has to be chopped into small pieces for her, so they are easy to swallow.

You’ll never know from day to day what you will get from a long-term care resident.

The Ontario Trillium Benefit

The Ontario Trillium Benefit combines the following three credits to help pay for energy costs as well as sales and property tax:

  • Northern Ontario Energy Credit
  • Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit
  • Ontario Sales Tax Credit

You need to be eligible for at least one of the three credits to receive the benefit.

You can read more about the Ontario Trillium Benefit to see if you qualify or for educational purposes.

Long-Term Care And The Future

Whatever we see today means we could be facing it in the future for ourselves.

I hope I never have to move into a nursing home or long-term care facility.

We have our son who can look after we provided he stays living in the city or near.

The only problem is we don’t want him to think he can’t leave and explore the world because of us.

Overall, I’d say do your research of the nursing homes and long-term care facilities in your area and ask for feedback online, read Google reviews or Facebook group reviews.

Transportation Vehicle For Out Of Town Appointments

One last expense was a transportation van where the patient lays on a stretcher or sits in a wheelchair or the vehicle.

A trip out of town cost $400 to the first facility until a bed opened up in her city.

Three weeks later, the bed opened up, and again it would have been $400 to bring her back.

We said forget that and just picked her up and tossed her belongings in the trunk.

She was the happiest woman in the world, singing, smiling and bopping around.

Unless you have benefits to cover a transportation service out of town, know they hit your finances hard.

Long-term care and nursing homes are facilities of care, love, kindness and well-being.

Discussion: What have been your experiences with a loved one in a long-term care facility?

Share them below so we get an idea of what you go through and what your loved one goes through.

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  1. I had my mother in a Home for the Aged for 5 years until her death at age 96. However I also worked as an RN in the same Long Term Care home /Home for the Aged for 22 years. My mother did not have dementia but seemed reasonably content in her one room. African violets on the wide window sill, TV on her dressing table and plenty of room to sort stamps, potentially for her stamp collection (most of which I am still harboring LOL). One thing I do think should be mentioned is the fact that there are several types of LTC Homes. The 2 which I will focus on are for-profit homes and charitable homes. My mother was in a charitable Home. As such, her previous year’s income tax information determined the amount of her monthly fee. Her personal savings were not information which was required. Had we installed her in a for-profit home, her savings account would have been included in determining her monthly fee. At significantly higher cost. My experience with Mum was from 1995-2001. My ex-mother-in-law was in a for-profit home and her monthly fee was $1500 more than my mother’s. Her savings would be depleted until they were gone. Worth looking into the type of LTC you are considering – if possible – before it become a crisis or emergency situation.

    1. Hi Mary,
      That’s a very good point you bring up about the different types of long-term care homes. I believe my MIL is in one regulated by the government. Were you able to see your mother when you were at work? Thank you for being a nurse as it takes a special, caring person to do what nurses and PSW’s do.

      1. Yes I was able to visit my mother after my shift. That was a blessing to see her, even briefly, almost daily..

  2. Our experience was moving our Mom to a retirement home with an eventual move to a nursing home. We had to buy a couch and chair as she didn’t have a couch in her apartment and no chairs good enough to move. We were gifted a new bed. We hadn’t been in her apartment during Covid and didn’t realize how bad things were. All her stuff was so bad we just threw it all out other than pictures and a few trinkets. It cost $600 to get rid of things and it was a very minimalist apartment. She hadn’t bought clothes in so long that it was all thrown out but one pair of pants. I got her lots of beautiful clothes at Salvation Army and a local non profit thrift store. She has dementia and didn’t realize.I can’t tell her how much the retirement home is as she would be upset. Her medications are about $30 a month. She won’t accept help with bathing so we don’t pay for that. She has a wander bracelet as she was trying to get out and she would get lost. She goes out for walks with staff. I don’t know how long before she gets a bad at a nursing home. It will be a private room in a locked unit.She wouldn’t like anyone in a room with her.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      I’ve never been to a nursing home, but our neighbours both moved into an apartment together. She sold the house after he went in as she could no longer look after him.
      So the nursing home you brought your mom to didn’t have furniture in her room? Many times dementia patients don’t even know what’s happening to them. I hate this disease.
      We also look at the Salvation Army or Goodwill for clothing and jackets along with Silverts for shoes and boots. The wander bracelet for dementia patients should be a requirement if it’s not. It’s incredible what some residents will do to break loose and take off from the nursing home. Thanks for your comment.

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