Residential Care Crescent

Tips for navigating residential (24 hour) care.

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.


***Please note*** Residential care homes are where people need 24 hour care, it’s like a hospital in most ways. A quick rule of thumb – if you are not able to ambulate independently, you would most likely be a candidate for a Residential care community. Residential care is also referred to as full care — old folks home — complex care — “the home” and more…When you think of old folks homes, this is what you are probably thinking of.

***The wait time to move into a residential care community (subsidized) can run anywhere from 1 week — to many months…and it does take a huge toll on the families who are waiting. It’s not a perfect system, that’s for sure.

***Please note*** You will never find a more devoted bunch of people — doctors, nurses, social workers, administration staff, housekeepers, cooks etc. — than those that work in Residential Care — so, let’s all take 3 breathes before we unload all of our anger and frustrations on these workers because it isn’t their cross to bare. If you need to be heard please contact your local MLA — these are the people that can affect change — the workers, on the other hand, can only work with the system as is. Please be forever mindful of this…

1) Biggest tip — read everything you sign and even the stuff you don’t have to sign because there will be some very important information contained in the documents you receive when moving a loved one into a residential care community. For instance, one of the forms will mention that you only have between 24 and 48 hours once your loved one has passed to remove their belongings from their room. Yup, this one throws a lot of people for a loop…

2) Some families believe that if they already have their loved one in an assisted living community (paying privately) they will receive a quicker transfer to a “funded” or subsidized residential suite in the same building …we’ve seen this work but there are no guarantees, so you need to budget accordingly and you need to advocate on behalf of your loved one.

3) Memory Care Communities are often part and parcel of residential care communities — not always though. Please refer to the Mats and Pats Memory Care “tips and tricks” page for further insight.

4) The Health Authorities will let you “pick” which residential care building you would prefer but if you pick the “first available” option it will provide you with a quicker placement; it might be a little further out of your chosen neighbourhood though.

5) If you decide to “pick” your top 3 choices (you are provided with options) you might have a bit of a hard time choosing. You see, there is no requirement for the workers of the building to “show you around” and the buildings generally don’t have the time or the interest to do so because it’s disrupting to the current residents and it’s not part of the care staff’s job. So, you will need to pick your top three based on something other than a tour of the residential community…referrals are a great place to start.

6) A residential respite category is listed below…it’s unusual because (generally) at this stage you would already be living in a community that offers that level of care. However, subsidized (funded) residential care communities have long waits, really long waits. If the Health Authority doesn’t have a vacancy, more than likely you will be housed in a building that is commonly referred to as a “holding tank” until an appropriate placement can be made. These holding tanks – well, they can be quite grim. If you have any savings now would be the time to use it and pay for a private residential care suite at least until a funded one becomes available. If you go this route – advocate, advocate, advocate because once you leave the holding tank, you may lose your place in line simply because out of site, out of mind.

7) If you are paying for a private-pay suite you can expect monthly fees to begin around the $5000.00 range and go up from there, depending upon the level of care required. Keep in mind, the Health Authority takes 80% of your monthly income to offset costs for all income brackets. If you can afford more than $5000 per month however; then, you can afford to move to a private-pay residential community and they can be more than spectacular (what a way to go:)!  For the rest of us….well, we can dream:)