Retirement

What To Expect In Long-Term Care Homes

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How many of you have thought about your future and potentially living in a Long-Term Care home?

Do you have retirement money set aside to help pay for the expenses of a long-term care home?

Today, I want to share with you the costs involved if you are moved into long-term care, along with a narrative from a fan whose mother currently lives in one.

What to expect in a long-term care home in Ontario.
What to expect in a long-term care home

Long-Term Care Home Facilities

Dying or illness is not the first thing that comes to someone’s mind, especially if they live for today.

I think that’s the problem because when we think about death, we know we are all going to die, but we don’t know when.

That’s why people who have little to no retirement savings put that category last.

If there is any money left at the end of the money, it may end up an RRSP or be spent for other needs more critical.

What Do You Get Living In A Long-Term Care Home

Moving from a house or apartment to long-term care takes some adjusting, and eventually, it just happens.

The type of care the home provides depends on where you are looking. That’s why it’s great to look up all the care homes in your city.

One by one, you can ask for referrals first and then see which ones might be a fit.

Once you have them narrowed down, call them up and book an appointment to visit.

While getting a tour, ask for a facility package that explains what is offered.

Each care home will have this information and recent inspection reports council meeting information.

In a care home, you will get lots of great things depending on whether all the staff show up to work.

Lately, with Covid-19, it’s been tough for everyone trying to get as much done as possible.

What You Get In A Long-Term Care Home

Below is what you would get at a long-term care home in Windsor, Ontario

  • On-site nursing care 24 hours a day
  • All meals
  • Daily assitance with personal care for example bathing, dressing and eating
  • Accomodation with basic furnishings including a bed, chair and night stand. This also includes a bed, chair and bed linens.
  • Laundry and housekeeping services
  • Religious and spiritual services
  • Personal Hygiene supplies
  • Someone to help you with your medication and medical and/or clinical supplies
  • Social and recrestional programs
  • A safe and secure environment.

What is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care is a facility that seniors get moved into when they cannot care for themselves any longer.

There is always a waitlist to get into long-term care homes, so you must apply if you qualify.

Openings can take up to a yea,r sometimes weeks or just a month, which can be challenging.

The next best place if you can’t have them at home, the following best site will be at the hospital to wait.

Finding Long-term care options for the elderly is often not as simple as booking a hotel room.

A long-term care facility is where you can live with dignity and a safe environment.

When living at home becomes too difficult, it’s probably time to start looking at facilities in your area.

Often, relatives will have their inlaws move in with them only to find they can’t care for them.

It’s not that they aren’t putting enough effort in, but facilities such as long-term care, also known as nursing homes, have trained staff.

Long-Term Care Home Dining and Recreation Room
Long-Term Care Home DIning and Recreation Room

Recently, I released an Emergency Binder printable for all subscribers to this blog.

There are many printables in the binder because not all information makes it into the Will.

Do you know your dying parents’ last wishes or whether they want to be buried or cremated?

Hiring A Lawyer For A Will

Hire a lawyer to help draw up your Legal Will
Hire a lawyer to help draw up your Legal Will

When we had our Will drawn up by a lawyer a few years ago, it cost us $1000 by a local lawyer who retired the next month.

Our Wills have been transferred to a new lawyer in the city if we need to adjust it.

However, the more we learned, the less we realized that we didn’t document our last wishes.

Honestly, if you have a simple Will, you’re better off completing it online with websites such as

Today, many people state that buying an online will from Epilogue or Canadian Legal Wills.

The cost is nothing near what you’d pay going straight to a lawyer; however, having something is better than nothing.

Estate planning includes having a Will and Power of Attorney drawn up by a lawyer, or you can do it yourself with an online Will Kit.

Epilogue Will Kit

Two of the most popular Canadian Online Will Kits to check out are:

Epilogue is a simple, fast, and affordable way for Canadians to create their Will and Powers of Attorney online.

All you do is answer a series of straightforward questions. A legally binding Will can be made in 20 minutes at home.

You won’t need to visit a lawyer’s office either, as Epilogue was founded by two estate planning lawyers who know what they are doing.

Another popular online Will Kit provider in Canada is Canadian Legal Wills.

Canada’s #1 provider of online Wills, Power of Attorney, and Living Wills

About Canadian Legal Wills

Canadian Legal Wills allows people to create standard legal documents that are effortless, convenient, private, secure, and cost-effective without paying high expenses.

We go far beyond any do-it-yourself kit or online repository of legal forms and documents.

All of your legal documents can be stored and maintained online in a completely private and secure manner if you wish.

Having this option will ensure that you can keep it updated to reflect any financial or family situation changes.

Use my discount link below and get 15% off your Legal Will!

LegalWills.ca – Write your Will from the comfort of your home (click here to get 15% off)
Custom-made for your Province and lawyer approved, at one-tenth the cost.

When Your Sick Parent Becomes Your Responsibility

One of our readers wanted to share her story about her mother’s placement in long-term care.

From experience, finding a bed in the same city for a senior with dementia was a struggle.

Long-term care homes for dementia patients are far, and few, which meant the seniors had two choices.

She either had to stay on the dementia floor at the hospital until a bed opened up or went where a bed was open around Ontario.

I wish I could say the nightmare begins here, but it started over a year ago when dementia became a big part of our family.

All of us were educating ourselves about it and wondered if my siblings and I would get it.

Frontal Temporal Dementia is, also known as FTD, is a disease with no cure in the brain.

Everything you’ve ever known works its way back until the story of your life begins at birth.

Strangely enough, the term “Waiting To Die” represents Frontal Temporal Dementia FTD, Lewy body or Alzheimer’s disease.

Assisted Living Care Availability And Staff

Long-Term Care Home
Long-Term Care Home

Finding skilled nursing, long-term care facility in the city where the patient lives is difficult.

First, you need to talk to a placement coordinator for long-term care homes who works for the Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN).

Getting a referral is one way you might get into a home faster but working with your placement coordinator, they can find appropriate homes based on your needs.

If you cannot do so, then the Power of Attorney can step in and be your voice.

Amid Covid-19, it’s even worse trying to find a bed in a long-term care home.

With so many medical staff staying home because they are sick or leaving for another job due to being overworked, it’s hard.

We’ve had a terrible experience with a long-term care home out of the city because a bed was available.

It took one month of her living in the out-of-town long-term care facility before there was a semi-private room for her back home.

Transporting Costs For Long-Term Care Patients

However, the family was thrilled to transport her back to her hometown as the cost was $400 one-way.

That’s right when the patient needs transportation out of town, be ready to pay at least $400 or more one way.

In total, she spent $800 to be transported to the London Hospital and then transferred to a not-so-nice long-term care facility.

I begged the hospital not to charge her for the ride as it was getting so expensive, and they did help her out by sending her home free of charge.

When a bed comes available out of town or in town, and it’s offered to the senior, they either take it or wait.

The waiting process is in the hospital in lockdown, and it’s not the best place to be, especially as a seeker like my mom is.

My mother wasn’t pleased in the hospital, so we sent her when the bed became available.

The travel distance was about one hour, so we said forget that, and we picked her up ourselves.

She was fantastic on the way home, smiling and singing like nothing in the world mattered.

It’s still so hard to see a loved one losing their lives to this disease.

Long-Term Care Away From Home

Unfortunately, the facility was not the greatest at all, it was dirty, and the room was a hospital room with a curtain.

I believe at one time; this long-term care facility was a hospital. When I got off the elevator again, the front desk was packed with people begging for smokes or a ride home.

Twice I was asked for a cigarette for money by seniors in the facility. I didn’t smoke or want anything to do with it.

There were always wheelchairs at the front desk with seniors waiting for their loved ones to turn up.

You can’t help but shed a tear for them all because you know this is their last chapter.

A month later, a bed opened up in a private room back home, and I took it for her.

The travel distance was about one hour, so we loaded her up and took her to her new home.

She was fantastic on the way home, smiling and singing like nothing in the world mattered.

It’s still so hard to see a loved one losing their lives to this disease.

She went straight to lockdown in the facility in our hometown, where she had a lovely private room for $2800 a month.

From there, another bed opened up, which would allow her to roam free, and we moved her upstairs.

The cost for the semi-private room is only $2200, which is even better than before

Power of Attorney

Also, the Power of Attorney who took care of her finances and well-being has to pay for these costs out of her mother’s savings account.

My mother only had the money saved from selling the family home and government money. Related: How to estimate and plan your retirement

Costs Of Living In A Long-Term Care Home In Ontario

Two seniors enjoying a game of chess outside of their long-term care home
Two seniors enjoying a game of chess outside of their long-term care home

What she gets from the government pays for her current semi-private room, which I decorated just like home.

Depending on the facility and whether your loved one gets private or semi-private, the prices fluctuate.

Currently, she pays $2300 for a semi-private room that includes all meals, snacks, clothing washed, medical care, and activities throughout the day.

There is also a $200 fund for my mother if she needs to purchase something right away.

My mother doesn’t drink, but there is a bar and store in the long-term care home.

There is also a hair salon where she gets her hair coloured, which she loves doing.

Caring For Your Parents

A daughter showing her mom photos on her mobile phone at a long-term care facility
A daughter showing her mom photos on her mobile phone at a long-term care facility

Since I live the closest, I’m the one who takes care of her needs especially checking on whether her teeth were clean or that she wasn’t sleeping in her clothes.

If there has been an emergency, they call me first to go to the long-term care home or the hospital.

Although the patient requires any help, they can hire a PSW to go along, and there are again costs.

Not everyone has a family that lives in the city they grew up in because kids go to University, College, or move away for a career.

I wasn’t that person, but I moved away for a year and eventually moved home. Thankfully, I’m close enough to help her anytime I can.

I’m told that my mother had an angel by her side when I realized they talked about me.

I believe that everything happens for a reason.

Personal Care Items

Personal Belongings that is not covered by the home or products they'd rather use.
Personal Belongings that is not covered by the home or products they’d rather use.

My mom’s facility does offer soap and shampoo, but I buy it for her at Shoppers Drug Mart and collect PC Optimum points for her.

One more thing I need to mention is that stuff goes missing all the time in nursing homes and Long term care.

Some seniors like to go room to room on a scavenger hunt to see what they can take.

Just be aware of that and try not to bring expensive jewellery or items into the facility.

If you have tablets and phones, put a label on them with your parents’ names.

Below are a few other items I have or had to spend money on:

  • Cable TV in her room $75
  • Lazy Boy Chair $1200 to make her room cozy
  • Clothing as needed as her weight fluctuates
  • Slippers, Shoes and Boots
  • Pjamas, bras, under garments, socks
  • Hair Brush
  • Tooth Brush, Tooth Paste and Floss
  • Shampoo and Conditioner must be Pantene (her favourite)
  • Bars of soap
  • Makeup, face cream and body cream
  • Hair care
  • Lip Balm
  • Teeth cleaning tablets or solution
  • Favourite snacks – Aero chocolate bars and Jube Jubes.
  • Gas Money for the times I drive around town
  • Better pillows and pillow cases
  • New lamp for side of the bed
  • Income tax returns
  • Semi-Private Room $2200

These expenses are minimal but items she needs to keep happy and clean are critical.

Monthly her vape can cost up to $250, but eventually, we hope she forgets about it.

She smoked, but we managed to get her off the cigarette and onto the vape.

All the vitamins she needs get paid from her retirement savings.

Food and Nutrition

A senior enjoying a cuppa tea outside in the gardens.
A senior enjoying a cuppa tea

So far, only once she’s choked on food, so now everything has to be cut very small.

Her snacks are soft such as yogurt or chocolate pudding, as are her nightly fruit plate.

A dietician comes around who we don’t have to pay as she’s part of the government-run facility.

She will work with me to create a meal plan to get the food she likes.

Also, a dental assistant is paid to come and see her teeth, which are not covered.

OHIP Coverage

We are also fortunate to live in a country where going to the hospital for help is part of the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).

Many people don’t know that OHIP only covers some costs depending on the patient’s needs.

If you’re not familiar with the OHIP process, I suggest you read it for educational purposes, so you know what is and isn’t covered.

Leaving A Loved One Behind

It’s not easy saying goodbye, so you rely on the nurses and PSW’s to take excellent care of your loved one.

Unfortunately, the problem with that is the case either because of being short-staffed or employees being lazy.

Often I feel like I work at the long-term care home part-time, looking after my mother.

I do it because I know she would do everything or anything for me, and I love her so much.

It is heartbreaking to have a parent who has no idea where and always wants to go home.

When I see my mother, I have to lie to her and say I’ll be back in the morning to pick her up.

That makes her happy, but in my heart, it bleeds for her, although I’ve had years to try and understand it’s in her best interest.

At the start, she wanted nothing to do with long-term care and would cause a big fuss.

There was always the loud screaming that there was nothing wrong with her when there was.

Do They Know They Have Dementia?

They don’t see what we see, although she must have known something was wrong at some point in her life.

She put herself last all of her life when she needed to be put first, but now it’s all about taking care of her.

She was living in a room in lockdown, but a year ago, they stopped lockdown and left the facility open.

I’m sure it was a blessing as she was now able to walk around or go outside but with an ankle bracelet.

In the beginning, she would always have a Personal Support Worker (PSW) to sit with her, but now she can go alone.

She pretty much chats throughout the day with others who live at home with her.

Our worst fear is her walking away and getting lost or picked up by someone.

Today, she is settled in, and although she still wants to go home, there’s nothing more we can do for her.

They No Longer Know Who You Are

Eventually, they no longer know who you are, but you may be a familiar calm for them.

You are now the only person they trust to be around and take care of them.

She always tells me that I’m such a lovely, beautiful girl who comes to see her.

That’s what I do for my mother three times a week when I visit her and bring her treats.

I can take her for car rides during the summer or when Covid-19 is lifted and she’s allowed outside.

She loves getting coffee from Tim Horton’s and a visit to McDonald’s for a cheeseburger.

We get anything she wants, although it’s mostly food and Aero chocolate bars.

Living Your Retirement In A Long-Term Care Home

We are told to save money for our retirement in an RRSP, TFSA and other investments and savings.

We don’t know whether or not we will get the opportunity to spend the money.

As I mentioned in a previous post, our views on retirement have changed because we want to enjoy our senior years.

Even then, I can’t predict the future. I wish I knew when I was going to die. The things I would do differently would make a difference.

Do I want to live in a long-term care home?

The answer is no, and I hope my final resting place is ready for me; however, I die.

From what I’ve seen in these facilities, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but the care is there.

Each facility is not equal, which is why pricing differs based on where you get a room and whether it is government-funded or not.

It’s a hard sell asking someone before they die, but the person you put in charge will back you up or talk you out of something.

I don’t want to overwhelm you with a massive blog post, so I’ll leave it here.

The next post will be about bed offers, accepting or declining a bed offer, application denied, and a checklist of items you would like from a nursing home.

Thanks to my CBB reader for sharing parts of her story with mine, as it’s always nice to get different perspectives.

If you feel I need to add something, please let me know.

Discussion: What other expenses have I missed above that would not be covered in a long-term care facility in Ontario? Leave me your comments below, and I’ll add them to the list.

Subscribe to the blog, and I’ll send you my FREE Emergency Binder. Thank me later. 🙂

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One Comment

  1. My husband is currently in Long Term Care in Toronto and my journey has been similar. His home is not as nice as described but the care is reasonably good and he is comfortable. More information like you are offering is needed. In Ontario, reference material on how the system works is not readily available. For example: Originally my husband needed a locked unit as he was a wanderer. I asked many times for a list of facilities with a locked unit in order to narrow down selections/choices. One doesn’t exist for the simple reason that most LTC homes have a locked unit, and a home would not accept a patient who required that level of care if they did not have an appropriate unit. Easy and reasonable explanation, right? But no one I spoke to from his care coordinator on down could be bothered/was able to explain that to me. The answer I got was telephone them. I did not feel supported by the system.

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