Retirement residences: What the data tells us about safety


Retirement residences and long-term care (LTC) homes are often considered to be the same thing. This misconception has been perpetuated by discussions about the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it disproportionately affects the elderly population around the world.

Retirement residences vs. Long-term care

The truth is, LTC homes and retirement residences offer different services and in different environments. Today’s retirement residences are typically lively communities full of independent seniors, who enjoy the convenience and support of communal living.  LTC residences cater to people with the highest care needs. In Alberta, we work in partnership with Alberta Health Services to accommodate care needs up to a certain measure.  In Ontario, LTC homes are subsidized by the provincial government, while most retirement homes are not.

While certain precautionary measures have changed the day to day routines of our residents, our teams have worked hard to ensure our residents are engaged in meaningful activities, connected with their neighbours and loved ones.  Residents continue to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing they can count on our dedicated team members, if and when they need us. Services such as meals, housekeeping, and activities are still being offered.

Senior Regional Director, Resident & Guest Services, Nicole Almost says, “Residents and their families have often expressed appreciation for our efforts during this unprecedented time, especially around our creative programming.  For example, Seasons High River hosts a jam session via conference call that they named ‘Quarintunes.’ One of our residents, Wally, performs not just for the residents at Seasons High River but for all Seasons residents to call into and enjoy. It’s been a very popular program, enjoyed by so many.” When we asked Wally how he feels about living at Seasons High River and he responded, “I couldn’t ask to live in a better place. I get good food, friends, and music. What more can anyone want?”

Safety by the numbers

That said, many people continue to question whether or not a move into a retirement community is safe. The truth lies in the numbers: In Ontario, for example, the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA), states that as of July 22, 2020, out of the 177 licensed retirement communities in the province, 98 percent remain free of a COVID-19 outbreak. Although one COVID-19 related death is too many, Ontario’s retirement community residents represent only 6.3 percent of all deaths in the province. At the time of writing this article, Seasons continues to be free of COVID-19 in all communities in both Ontario and Alberta.

Seasons response to COVID-19

At the outset of the COVID-19 situation in Canada, Seasons Retirement Communities implemented heightened precautionary protocols in all of our homes. We continue to follow the advice of provincial and federal governments, our sector regulators, and local Public Health agencies. We are inspired by our dedicated team members’ commitment to following all protocols in order to keep our residents and one another safe.  For a complete, updated list of Precautionary Protocols at Seasons, click here.

While the reasons for moving to a retirement community are varied, they are usually rooted in the need for a change in one’s living arrangements. Book a personal tour today and decide if Seasons is the right fit for you or a loved one.

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