Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

December 12, 2013 10:41 ET

Housing for Older Canadians: Housing Options for Today's Seniors

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 12, 2013) - The number of Canadians aged 55 years or older is growing at a rapid pace. Canadians who are now entering retirement are also, on average, better educated, more active and healthier than almost any other generation of retirees in Canada's history.

As a result, developers and project sponsors who are interested in pursuing this increasingly diverse group of individuals need to consider which portion of the market they should be targeting, which type of accommodation will appeal to that target market, and how to successfully navigate all the elements and services that form the full spectrum of seniors' housing today, from real estate development to hospitality and health care.

To help developers better understand the housing options that are available to older Canadians, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has released an updated version of its in-depth report Housing For Older Canadians: The Definitive Guide to the Over-55 Market. This report covers the complete range of seniors' housing in Canada, including:

  • Mainstream housing. This includes seniors who prefer to stay in the homes they've lived in all their lives, as well as those who are downsizing and/or changing tenure e.g. to condominium or rental. Many developers (particularly in large urban centres) are starting to build and market homes that can be adapted to changing needs as people age. An advantage of these adaptable homes is that they appeal not only to seniors and "empty nesters," but also to singles and young couples.

  • Independent living and active lifestyle accommodation. Active lifestyle accommodation includes communities that combine housing with recreational amenities such as golf courses, clubhouses or tennis courts. This form of housing appeals most to seniors who require little or no assistance with their daily needs, but who want to enjoy access to a wide range of services and amenities. Independent living accommodation can range from detached or row houses to multi-storey apartment buildings, but in most cases, they form part of a larger seniors' community. Some sponsors of independent living or active lifestyle projects offer residents the opportunity to purchase service packages as add-ons to their regular rent or condo fees. Independent or active lifestyle developments can also come with a variety of tenure options, from freehold ownership or rental to condominium, equity co-operative and life-lease.

  • Assisted living accommodation. Assisted living housing generally appeals to seniors who want or need more personal or health care services than are available in an independent living environment. The most common forms of assisted living accommodation are traditional retirement residences (or retirement homes). But assisted living developments can range from housing that caters to seniors who are still fairly independent, to those who require a full suite of personal and health care services, such as meal preparation, housekeeping and personal grooming. Modern retirement residences targeting affluent seniors can often resemble luxury hotels, complete with beauty salons, libraries, gardens, computer rooms and swimming pools.

  • Long-term care accommodation. Long-term care homes (also known as residential continuing care or special care homes) are designed for people who need 24-hour nursing care and supervision. The accommodations may be private, semi-private or shared by multiple residents in a room. Long-term care homes can be built, owned and operated by a variety of for-profit and non-profit sponsors, including private corporations, municipalities and charitable organizations. Long-term care homes are subject to government regulation and usually require a license to operate. In return, sponsors receive government funding to help cover the costs of accommodation and services. Some operators of long-term care homes also offer optional services such as cable television, telephone or transportation to their residents for an additional fee. These added services can help increase profitability and attract residents who are willing to pay a premium for semi-private or private accommodation.

Terms and Conditions of Use of CMHC Ready-to-Use Articles

The use of Ready-to-Use Articles is governed by the Terms & Conditions set out on the Ready-to-Use Articles section of CMHC's website. Information in this article may be published in its present form and must be attributed to CMHC. Authorization to publish an article granted by this agreement is valid only for a period of one year as of the date of the creation by CMHC of that article and notwithstanding the date on which you published that article.

For more information

Download a free copy of Housing for Older Canadians: The Definitive Guide to the Over-55 Market at www.cmhc.ca. For over 65 years, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada's national housing agency, and a source of objective, reliable housing information.

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