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May 1, 2021

2 Things to Know Before Beginning a Senior Living Search

Ready to start searching for senior living homes? Whether it is for you, a friend, or a family member, it is important to brush up on the ins and outs of the senior living industry to make sure you’re making the most educated decision. Below we cover two important points to keep in mind when looking for senior living in BC.

1. Levels of Care

There are six different levels of senior living care, providing many different options for aging in BC. Each is measured according to their level of assistance, allowing you to fully customize your search. Let’s cover each in detail:

Senior Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities are great for the independent senior who may need little assistance or simply wants to enjoy a more maintenance-free and enhanced retirement. Such communities offer great social aspects, are ergonomically designed for seniors, and range in offerings like housekeeping and cooking.

Home Care

Sometimes seniors are not ready to leave their home or just came home from a surgery and need extra support. Home care is a great option that allows individuals to age in place or recover in the comforts of their home. Aging in place is an ideal option for those who need assistance, can financially support an at-home caretaker, and have a healthy social life.

Residential Care Homes

Seniors who want their own home but cannot afford aging in place renovations have the options of residential care homes. These communities are neighbourhoods carefully crafted for aging, providing caretaker assistance as residents age. They’re a great option for seniors who cannot afford at-home caretakers but are seeking more social opportunities.

Memory Care

Memory care residences can include anything from individual suites to entire neighbourhoods and are specifically designed for those dealing with memory loss and various forms of dementia. Caretakers, schedules, security, and activities are carefully built to support the quality of life for those who need consistent care and attention due to impaired memory. In fact, Canada’s first memory care village is right here in Langley, BC!

Assisted Living

When most people think about senior living communities, they picture assisted living. These residences have 24-hour support staff that assist individuals who can no longer safely live independently. With private suites, residents of assisted living residences have full restaurants that provide each meal of the day and trained staff available for medication administration, nursing, transportation, recreational activities, and more.

Nursing Homes

Many people think that “nursing home” is an umbrella term for senior living communities, but they are specific residences offering 24-hour high-level medical and lifestyle support. Nursing homes focus on keeping their residents safe and healthy for the long-term.

2. Senior Living Terms

Senior living in BC can be a confusing thing to navigate as most of us are not introduced to it until later in life. As you begin this research journey, it is important to understand the terminology used in the industry because it will help you narrow your search and find what you are looking for. Below are some important ones to keep in mind:

Continuum of Care

The continuum of care is a scale of care that seniors may need at a given time. Ranging from no assistance needed to high-level medical care, the continuum is a measurement that allows industry experts to discuss levels of assistance for their clients.

Some communities offer a continuum of care in that they have independent living through skilled nursing care on one campus, allowing residents to transition into a new level of care while remaining in the community.


A caretaker or caregiver is a professional or family member who provides a level of assistance to those in need. Such professionals can be hired short or long-term, provide daily visits or be live-in, and support seniors at any level of care.


Out of all of the stigmas in senior living, this may be the most important one. Many make the mistake of saying “facilities” or “institutions” when describing senior living residences or communities. These words have negative connotations when these residences create a home and community for older adults. The residents of these communities are loved ones with beautiful lives and contributions to society; they are not patients being locked away.

Government Subsidized Senior Living

Senior living in BC that is subsidized by the government is a more affordable option for those seeking senior living. In such cases, seniors must undergo the Ministry of Health’s assessment where the ministry chooses their eligibility, level of care, and new home.

Private Senior Living

Senior living communities that are owned and run by private companies have a range of costs and offers. In these cases, it is up to the senior or their loved ones to explore and shop around for the best senior living home for them.

Our BCSLA members offer a variety of senior living care in BC and can help you find the right community for yourself or someone you love. We encourage you to explore our member directory to learn more and start your senior living search!

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