Assisted Avenue

Tips for understanding how assisted living communities work.

Applicable directory listed below. (Please note, we are still building the directory – in the meantime, if you need assistance please visit the Mats and Pats “chat” page). Thank you.


Assisted living communities offer benefits such as meal preparations, weekly housekeeping and social activities. Assisted living buildings also offer nursing care, hours for service can vary.

1) Generally, if you require a two person lift to get you out of your bed and into the bath well, you would no longer be a fit for this type of community and would instead, be better served by seeking out a residential care community. As well, you must be able to ambulate independently throughout the building — use of a walker or chair is fine but if you still aren’t able to “get around” with the use of either, then the next level of care is what you would probably require. (Some assisted living buildings don’t allow for wheel chairs and/or scooters — make sure you ask prior to moving.)

2) Be aware — if your health starts declining the building might ask that you move, for your own safety — if another option isn’t currently available, you will be asked to sign a liability waiver. Basically, the building is acknowledging that the level of care that you require is beyond their scope and they will want to ensure that if you remain the liability is not their burden to bear.

3) If you do NOT like moving, you may be better served by moving to a building that offers both assisted and residential care living options. These communities would be housed in separate areas of the same building. So, if your health declines you would only need to move down the hall, and not across the street or across town.

4) If nursing care is offered you need to understand what will be included and what you will need to pay for. For instance, if you press the call button again and again you most likely will see an extra fee on your monthly bill. It is important to understand how many times a nurse can assist / check on you before you will be charged?

5) If you are unwell, sick or recuperating from an illness some buildings will allow for free meal delivery…in other words, your nurse will bring your meal to your suite for free— double check though, because some places offer 1 free meal delivery per month, other places offer more per month.

6) Before you waste your time – find out what health conditions the buildings’ staff can and cannot manage. For instance, some buildings do NOT offer assistance with sliding scale diabetes management. Some buildings will not be able to assist you if you are taking certain types of anti-psychotic medications, so please ask before going on a tour.

7) If you are offered a subsidized assisted living suite through any of the BC Health Authorities, try and find a building that offers both private-pay and funded suite options. Generally, the private-pay buildings offer many more amenities…

8) For the private-pay suites — ask to see as many available suites as possible….the greater the number of available suites — the greater your ability to negotiate will be. Same as hotels — if suites are vacant well, the building is losing revenue. I’ve seen some buildings offer 3 months free rent / other buildings will only offer one month free. Also, negotiate for new carpets, new paint, free room service etc. Negotiate — Negotiate — Negotiate!

9) Most private-pay communities cannot accommodate special dietary restrictions, such as pureeing food or vegan options, etc.

10) A great many private-pay buildings will NOT disclose their monthly fees on their website; some buildings won’t even tell you their fees until they are sure you are committed to moving into their building. Why? It’s a luxury offering, meaning their prices are high and they understand that if they quote you a price before they have “sold” you on the place…well, you probably wouldn’t buy. So, before going on a tour of the building, find out what their fees are….even if you have to be quite insistent. Again, no point in wasting your time.

11) Mats and Pats has found a couple of private-pay assisted living buildings whose prices start at around $1700 per month…so, it’s not so bad, if you can afford it. It’s approximately the price of a Yaletown condo – the only difference is that a Yaletown condo doesn’t also include weekly housekeeping, meals, activities etc.

***Please note*** There are a couple of 1-800 numbers that advertise on TV – these 1-800 numbers offer you FREE assistance. What you need to understand is that these “free” services earn their income via lead generation – you are their lead. So, if you call and you ask for information regarding your mother and where she should live – these 1-800 numbers will search their database for a solution for you dependent upon who they are aligned with and keep in mind, they are NOT aligned with every care community. So, you may not be provided with the solution that will best fit your needs – you may be provided with a solution that better serves the 1-800 numbers needs.