BCSLA Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question that you can’t find the answer to?

We’ve provided a list of common questions that members ask to help you on your senior living journey!

What is BCSLA?

The British Columbia Seniors Living Association (BCSLA) is a voluntary, membership-driven organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of the best interests of its members, which include the owners and operators of Independent and Assisted Living communities in BC. These owners and operators house over 12,000 seniors and provide them with safety, security, proper nutrition and a social environment while maintaining the seniors independence and freedom of choice.

What does BCSLA do?

BCSLA represents owners and operators of Independant and Assisted Living retirement communities.

Our four cornerstones are:


We identity and promote the interests of the membership with external stakeholders in seniors living and government.


We inform the public, government and consumer about the role of seniors living communities and benefits that they have to offer.


We identify challenges and opportunities faced by our members and seek solutions by bringing together appropriate collaborators.


We collect and disseminate real life stories and successes that demonstrate that seniors living within our communities remain vital and active members of society.

Who are BCSLA’s members?

Our members include Independent and Assisted Living retirement communities in BC that house over 12,000 seniors and associate companies that support these retirement communities with products and services for the daily operation.

How do I know if I should move into a retirement residence?
  • Here are 10 signs that a move to a more supportive environment such as a retirement residence may be a good idea for you or your loved one.
  • You (they) are having a less active lifestyle and the tenancy to stay home
  • Exterior of your (their) home is less well maintained than usual
  • There is a change in the quality of your (their) communication or the frequency of communication
  • Fewer invited into your (their) home and a change in visit patterns
  • Unopened bills and other mail
  • Your (their) home is unkempt, laundry or dishes are piling up
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blackened pots or other damage to your (their) home environment
  • Bruises or other signs of trauma from falls or difficulty navigating around your (their) house
  • Your family is expressing concern for your well being
I have more questions about retirement residences. Who can I speak to?

The BC Seniors Living Association office (604-689-5949) can refer you to a retirement community in the area of your choice which may provide one or both Independent Living and Assisted Living services.

Our ‘Senior Living Lifestyles Choices’ document on the Choosing a Retirement Community link that will also help you understand the senior living terms and resources you may need to identify the options available in the province of BC.

For more information visit our Industry Links section for other websites regarding seniors programs and options.

What’s the difference between an Independent Living residence, Assisted Living resident and a long term care resident? Independent Living

A combination of housing and hospitality services for retired adults who are functionally independent seniors capable of directing their own care. This may also be referred to as Supportive, Retirement or Congregate Living These seniors choose to be free of the home management duties and prefer the convenience of service in a social atmosphere. Living space may vary from a studio apartment to a 2 bedroom or larger Services provided are usually a menu of optional fee-for-services from a base rate which could include meals, housekeeping, monitoring and emergency support, social and recreational opportunities, transportation, etc. Building features include private space, and a safe secure environment with a home-like setting. The buildings are designed with common areas and features to allow seniors to “age in place” These communities include privately owned, non-profit and subsidized housing options

Assisted Living

Offers housing, hospitality services and personal assistance to seniors who live independently but require help with some daily tasks Same type of communities as the independent living Provides additional services such as bathing, dressing or medication monitoring. Nursing care may be available Seniors must be able to be self directed and independently mobile in BC Assisted living can be private pay or funded Assisted living in BC is regulated by the Office of the Assisted Living Registrar

Long Term Care/Complex Care

Provides housing, hospitality, personal assistance and 24 hour professional nursing care for seniors unable to care for themselves. Also referred to as Nursing Homes Care is required on a regular basis in a facility setting but who are not in need of hospitalization This segment includes intermediate care, multi-level care, extended care hospitals, private hospitals, Palliative Care or Respite Care These must be licensed and may be private pay or government funded

What is the Seal of Approval?

The Seal of Approval program identifies senior living communities that adhere to the highest industry standards. The Seal of Approval will help seniors and their families identify the very best retirement communities in B.C. To obtain the BCSLA Seal of Approval, the community must complete both an internal self assessment and an independent external review.

Successful communities meet multiple criteria in five areas: safety measures, infection control, staff training, resident services, and assisted living supports. For detailed information on the Seal of Approval click on BCSLA logo which will direct you to our main page and click on the plaque on the left hand side of the main page.

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