What is the Difference between Assisted Living and Retirement Homes in Ottawa?

retirement home

For many people, the difference between a retirement home and assisted living is not clear. There is a common misconception that assisted living is the same thing as a retirement home. As a matter of fact, on a myriad of occasions, these two terms have been used interchangeably to mean the same thing by health professionals and the general public, which should not be the case.

In order to choose the right environment for your loved one, it is important to learn their distinct differences.

From the outside, assisted living in Ottawa and a retirement home in Ottawa appear similar, but they are, in fact, different, as they are fashioned for different people at different stages in life.

Below, we will delve into details on the similarities and differences between these two types of senior residential home centres.

Assisted Living

Assisted living communities provide both care and housing to seniors who may need some assistance with their day to day activities but are able to do most of the activities on their own. A key element with assisted living in Ottawa is the availability of staff supervision, but not around the clock.

That being said, assisted living offers an element of communal living and can be found in an array of ways. They can exist in the form of towering apartment buildings in urban areas, condos in the suburbs or in the form of a more intimate community inclusive of all the amenities seniors would need.

Retirement Home

Simply said, retirement homes are residential home centres designed for seniors aged 55 years or older who are mostly or fully independent but may need the companionship of other people their age. A retirement home in Ottawa is designed with ample services and amenities to cater for senior citizens to ensure they live a healthy and active lifestyle.

Similarities between Assisted Living and Retirement Homes

  1. Support Services

One of the reasons most seniors move into retirement homes and assisted living communities is to get help with their day to day activities.

Both facilities offer access to transportation, health and exercise programs, laundry, 24-hour security and supervision, maintenance and repairs, including updates and appliance safety, housekeeping, as well as social and communal activities.

  1. Life Enrichment

Seniors who are isolated and lonely are at a high risk of lifestyle diseases, including high blood pressure, depression, and diabetes. Thanks to a variety of life enrichment activities incorporated in any retirement home in Ottawa, as well as assisted living in Ottawa communities, these health problems are minimized.

  1. Well balanced Meals

Good nutrition is a top-tier focus in both assisted living communities and retirement homes. Residents of these communities get to enjoy well-prepared meals and nutritious snacks every day.

Differences between Assisted Living and Retirement Homes

The two main differences between the different centres come down to the level of health facilities offered and the type of lifestyle and care given to the residents.

Generally, seniors living in retirement homes require custodial care, meaning retired seniors who can fully take care of themselves but are in need of some company.

By contrast, seniors living in an assisted living home, like the name suggests, require some type of assistance. This may be someone who suffers from memory loss or needs regular medication or even checkups.


Understanding the key differences between assisted senior living and retirement homes will help you make a more informed decision on which environment will better suit your loved one.

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