Long-Term Care vs Retirement Home: What is the Difference?

Long-Term Care Home vs Retirement Home

At first glance, long-term care and retirement homes have a lot in common: They both employ professionals from various disciplines. These professionals are occasionally certified, doctors and nurses. Still, more often, they are medical professionals with considerable skills and qualifications that help them contribute to the workflow of taking care of seniors. However, the two types of residences are rather different despite these similarities. 

So, what is the difference between long-term care and retirement homes? 

What are Long-Term Care Homes?

The defining trait of long-term care homes is that there is no set date of when the care is supposed to end. Long-term care is provided to people either in their own home or in a group setting called a long-term care home (which is also different from a retirement home).  

If for any reason, a person cannot bathe themselves, dress, use the restroom, clean, or go shopping without assistance, they qualify for long-term care. And an important note here is that a person can get long-term care even if they are only unable to do one of those things. 

Long-term care professionals can also specialize in mental health and psychology, as loneliness and depression tend to be common mental health concerns in older adults. 

Long-term care is a form of care best suited for people with chronic conditions that need help to complete daily living tasks.  

There are over 2,000 long-term care homes in Canada. But before you decide on one of them, consider what a retirement home has to offer. Understanding the differences between long-term care versus retirement homes is critical before choosing, whether for yourself or a loved one. 

What is a Retirement Home? 

A retirement home is a residence for older adults that can be constructed in a few different ways. The most common method of constructing a retirement home is to make a network of homes within a campus. The campus can include everything from luxury amenities, like golf courses and tennis courts, to necessities like food shops and medical centers. Many retirement communities, such as Seasons Retirement, can even provide specialized diets, such as diabetic diets. 

Retirement homes can also be built as one singular building with apartment or condo units. Seasons Retirement has such a location in Cambridge. These retirement homes provide residents with a lively environment for independent living. 

Retirement homes tend to have many well-trained staff members from various fields, as several amenities are included in a retirement home. These can consist of cooks, personal trainers, fitness instructors, and of course, the core medical staff necessary for checking up on and treating residents.  

A retirement home is meant to be a place where older people can make the most of being retired, doing all the things they enjoy without having to worry about the hassle of daily chores and tasks. 

The Difference Between Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes 

With a basic understanding of each service, you can start to see some key differences when comparing long-term care versus retirement homes.  

The most obvious is that long-term care homes are best suited for people who require care and assistance to perform one or more critical daily tasks. Long-term care is suitable for them as long as there is something important to their livelihood that they cannot do themselves. 

Retirement homes, like Seasons, meet residents where they are to provide them with meaningful experiences, social activities, and outings. These residences do a lot to take care of people by providing them with food, lodging, and community; this is where their focus lies.  

That said, retirement communities like Seasons also offer other forms of care. For example, in Ontario, future residents can also opt for independent supportive living, assisted living, and memory care.  

When you compare a long-term care home versus a retirement home, think of it like this: retirement homes provide added benefits for active, independent seniors. In contrast, long-term care homes are about helping people with daily tasks, improving their quality of life.  

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