Housing Options for Seniors in Ontario

There are many housing options available to seniors as you transition into retirement. The housing options available to you will depend on your own personal circumstances, needs, and preferences. You will need to consider the following:

  • Finances - How much can I afford each month for housing?
  • Level of Care - How much care will I need now and in the future?
  • Level of Independence - Do I prefer to live alone or be a part of a community?
  • Location - Do I want to be close to friends/family? In the city or rural area?
  • Type of Housing - Am I looking for a single room or an apartment for myself and my spouse?
  • Activities - Am I looking for a community that offers social activities like arts & craft, bingo, games nights?

It's a challenge today to find affordable housing option in Ontario. Bruce County has put together an Affordable Housing Development Toolkit.

Here are a few housing options available to seniors in Ontario:


A concept which started in Denmark in the 1960s, Communal living or Cohousing involves sharing common areas in private residences. These communities are intentional communities with private homes clustered around shared spaces such as a kitchen, living room, or backyard. Find out more at Canadian Cohousing Network. Discover how some seniors are joining cohousing communities in this TVO article: Thank you for being a friend: Why Ontario is embracing co-housing (tvo.org).


Tiny Home

Some municipalities are now permitting tiny homes of less than 400 sq. ft. to be added to single family properties or on their own with building permit. If you are looking to downsize this is a great option. Tiny homes offer simple, compact living and can be easily moved to backyards, parks or owned land. Tiny homes usually have a bathroom, small kitchen, and a bedroom space. The Ontario government has released a new guide on how to build or buy a tiny home: Build or buy a tiny home | Ontario.ca


RV Life

 If you are looking to downsize, but prefer to live your life on the road travelling and exploring then the RV life might be a good option for you! Many seniors are selling their homes and opting to live and travel in a trailer. With this type of living, you have the flexibility to travel across Canada or the U.S. or further a field, or stay put in a local campground for a few months. This can be an affordable and fun way to retire. These vehicles cost anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000 brand new. Here's a great story about one woman's RV life in retirement from the The Globe and MailRetirement on wheels: Why these seniors are choosing the RV life - The Globe and Mail.



Like a house, condos are owned and not rented, but with condos the owner has additional costs of maintenance fees, capital reserve fund, property taxes, interior improvements, utilities and more. The benefits of living in a condo for seniors is that snow shoveling and landscaping are usually performed by professional landscapers - greatly reducing the risk of accidents or falls for seniors. Condos often require less maintenance, cleaning and upkeep leaving you more time to enjoy your retirement years! Condos often have great amenities, including a pool, tennis court, gym and more, and with elevators on each floor, condos can be a great option for seniors struggling with mobility issues.


House or Cottage

Many seniors choose to age in place and remain in their home or cottage in their retirement years. This can be the best option for many seniors as long as they are able to maintain the house and property (ex. cleaning, dishes, laundry, snow removal, landscaping). There are many free and paid services available to seniors to help with day to day activities. Here are some things to consider if you decide to age in place and stay in your current home: COVID-19 has made more Canadians consider aging in place | The Star.


Community Housing

Community Housing is available to those in greater need of support or lower market rent.  These rental units are usually much more affordable and offer various supports and services for seniors in need. However, there can be a waiting list to get into Community Housing, especially in bigger cities in Ontario. Find out more about Ontario's Community Housing Renewal Strategy here: Community housing renewal strategy | Ontario.ca.


Life Lease Housing

Life Lease provides older individuals and couples with a lifetime right to occupy a unit and have access to communal facilities and services with the assurance that their neighbours will be in the same age group. Units are leased for life, then  sold back to the non-profit  corporation for resale. Some offer services like meals,  support, and common areas for socializing. The Life Lease option is usually less expensive than buying a condo or a house. Find out more at Ontario.ca: Life lease housing | Ontario.ca.


HomeShare Options

Canada HomeShare™ is an intergenerational housing solution designed and developed by the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE). Canada HomeShare matchs home providers 55+ who have an extra bedroom in their home with a post-secondary student who is looking for safe and affordable housing to create mutually beneficial living solutions. 

Canada HomeShare is facilitated by a team of social workers who aim to support aging-in-place for older adults while increasing flexible off-campus housing options for post-secondary students. Students pay $400-$600 in monthly rent directly to their home provider and contribute up to seven hours per week in assistance around the home and/or companionship. Canada HomeShare is not-for-profit and is free for all participants. Find out more about Canada HomeShare and how you can get involved in your community.

SpacesShared seeks to alleviate two critical challenges facing Canadians – older adults ability to age in their own homes and remain connected to their communities, and students' ability to access safe and affordable housing near the campuses that they attend. With backgrounds in public policy, social work, and technology development, our founders have seen first-hand the potential for technology to drive positive social and economic change. At the same time, we understand that a human touch is necessary to provide a feeling of safety and security for SpacesShared Hosts and Guests. Through intuitive technology, scheduled check-ins, and dedicated human support, we are committed to building, sustaining, and supporting intergenerational home-sharing.

Retirement Homes

Most Retirement homes in Ontario are privately owned. Each resident has their own room and meals and some assistance is provided by the healthcare staff. Residents share living room spaces and there are often activities and events each month. The cost for living in a retirement home can range  from $5,000 to $15,000 a month depending on the location and the level of care needed. Find out more at Ontario.ca: Find a retirement home | Ontario.ca.


Radical Resthomes

With Radical Resthomes there is no outside management and the home is run by the residents. Residents care for each other in these homes. If homecare is needed then outside resources will be procured. The goal for Radical Resthomes is for residents to live and die comfortably at home and not in institutions. It's really all about community. Find out more about Radical Resthomes in this CBC article: Radical rest homes: Old people should live everywhere | CBC News.


NORCs (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities)

A NORC is a community that has a large proportion (40% or more) of residents over 55. These communities are not planned or designed to meet the needs of seniors but occur naturally. These communities might be an apartment complex or a neighbourhood of houses with an aging population. In this CBC article find out how some communities are bringing eldercare to their NORCs: Bringing services to where seniors already live could be an alternative to long-term care, experts say | CBC Radio.