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2016 CMHC Senior Housing Report Shows More Seniors in Retirement Homes This Year


Are you or your senior loved one contemplating on moving to a retirement home but have some apprehensions? Maybe the latest report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will convince you.

More Seniors are Moving to Retirement Homes

Based on CMHC’s 2016 Senior Housing Report, there are more seniors living in retirement homes in Canada despite the increase in rent average. The CMHC report also shows that the increase in the number of senior residents of 4.5% in 2016 has outpaced the increase in the number of spaces in senior homes in Canada which was at 3.6%. This ratio had resulted to a decrease in the vacancy rate.

According to the report, there has been a decline in the vacancy rate in 2016 for all standard and non-standard spaces for seniors – from 8.1% in 2015 to 7.4% in 2016 – despite an increase in the average rent for bachelor units and private rooms with at least one meal included in the rent. There is a 5% increase in monthly rent for bachelor units and private rooms compared to 2015, from $2,107 to $2,210 per month.

Average Monthly Rent for Senior Home Spaces

The average monthly rent for bachelor units and private rooms that have at least one meal included in the rent increased by 5%, from $2,107 in 2015 to $2,210 in 2016.

Among the provinces, Quebec showed the lowest average rent of $1,527, while Ontario posted the highest average rent of $2,978 at a 6% increase, followed by New Brunswick with an average rent of $2,834 and Nova Scotia at $2,832.

Senior Housing Amenities

Even though rent has been rising among retirement homes, there is an upward increase in this year’s number of senior residents. Looking at the amenities and services that most senior homes offer, it is not difficult to understand why.

Senior residences, such as assisted living, independent living, long-term care, nursing home, as well as Alzheimer and memory care facilities, offer competitive rates accompanied by amenities that aim to make seniors feel more comfortable in their retirement abodes.

The most popular amenities being offered in most senior residences include:

  • 24-hour call bell services (94.6%)
  • Internet (61.5%)
  • On-site nurse (51.4%)
  • On-site medical services (50.5%)
  • Transportation services (43.5%)
  • Exercise facilities (40.4%)

Other amenities being offered in some retirement communities include:

  • Movie theatre (28.9%)
  • Hot tub spa (16.7%)
  • Swimming pool (10.9%)
  • Pharmacy (8.8%)

Difference Between a Standard and Non-Standard Senior Space

A standard space is occupied by a senior resident who pays market rent and does not receive heavy care, while a non-standard space is one where the senior resident receives heavy care, and is used for respite and non-market spaces.

Overall in 2016, it is apparent that senior citizens who opted to live in standard living spaces have increased, as the vacancy rate for standard spaces for seniors’ housing residences in Canada declined from 8.9% in 2015 to 8.2% in 2016. The same is true for non-standard senior spaces, whose vacancy rates also fell from 4.5% to 3.8% for the same periods.

Some Important Information to Take Note of from the 2016 National Seniors’ Housing Survey

The National Seniors’ Housing Survey conducted in 2016 by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) found that 234,989 seniors resided in the 2,812 residences that were surveyed. The total number of spaces in senior housing in Canada rose from 224,342 in 2015 to 232,478 in 2016, a 3.6% increase. More than 77.3% of all spaces were standard spaces.

The number of senior residents also increased from 224,962 in 2015 to 234,989 in 2016 – by 4.5% –  while the population of seniors aged 75 and above increased by 2.8% within the same period. The capture rate, which refers to the percentage of seniors’ population aged 75 years and over who occupied a standard or non-standard space, shows a modest increase from 8.9% in 2015 to 9.1% 2016.

Looking back at the highlights of this year’s report and comparing this with the 2015 CMHC Senior Housing Report, it is apparent that there is a steady growth in the number of seniors living in retirement residences. For me, this shows that more and more retirement homes are offering a good environment to seniors at reasonable rates, which is why there is an increasing number of seniors who are moving into these facilities. This is good news to baby boomers and their children, who will feel more secure about the well-being of their parents and senior loved ones.

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