A Guide to Retirement Care & Senior Living in Nova scotia

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With fresh ocean air and waterfront views, many retirees who enjoy coastal landscapes look to Nova Scotia when it comes to retirement. What particularly attracts older adults to the province is that it is well known for its Maritime climate - as winters are not excruciatingly cold and summers are not unbearably hot compared to other Canadian provinces. 

The capital city, Halifax is often noted for being an ideal retirement destination as it has all the vibrance and benefits of a bigger city while still offering the hospitality of a small town. Seniors also prefer settling down in cities like Lunenburg and Cape Brenton as they offer a more relaxing, small-town lifestyle away from the city. Whether it is a retirement community near the waterfront or a peaceful one in the city, Cared Upon is here to help you find a retirement community matching your needs in Nova Scotia.  

Lifestyle & Activities

For older adults who enjoy relaxing and being out in the wilderness, you’ll find a range of outdoor activities. Many seniors in the province enjoy walking along the beach, fishing, exploring hiking trails, kayaking, walking the Halifax waterfront, and exploring the famous Cabot Trail. Halifax is also filled with public gardens, museums, beaches, and parks to explore - especially when the weather warms up near spring. 

 Around 60 kilometres up from Halifax, you will find the town of Lunenburg which often appeals to older adults for having a vibrant, yet smaller tight-knit community. Not only is it common to find affordable housing by the waterfront, but it is also a walkable city - eliminating the need for any long-distance travel from your grocery shopping to your doctor's check-up appointments.  

Weather and Climate

While Nova Scotia is considered to have a less severe climate than other Canadian cities farther inland, with a slightly continental climate you can expect to see warm and rainy summers, followed by cold and snowy winters. Known for their fog, the province averages around 100 foggy days per year. Winter temperatures range anywhere from -15 to 5°C (5-41°F), while you will find the summer temperatures to range from 20-32°C (70-90°F). 

Housing options in Nova Scotia: Finding the Right Fit for you

From long-term care homes to ageing at home, older adults in Nova Scotia can find a variety of home services to match their care needs. If you are a senior that requires less care, you may find that ageing at home is the right fit for you. However, if your health condition requires you to have hospitality services but you would still like to live independently, assisted living could be more suitable for you.  

 Nursing homes, suitable for seniors with more complex health and care needs, typically begin at a rate of $150 per day in Nova Scotia. However, if you find that you only require basic health care services and are more suited for a retirement home, you will find the cost of a private room to typically begin at $2500 monthly.  

For seniors looking to age in place, the government of Nova Scotia offers older adults aged 65 and up financial assistance through the Home Adaptations for Seniors Independence program. Through this program, seniors wishing to live independently at home but face difficulties doing so due to age-related challenges are offered a grant of up to $3500 towards home repairs (such as walk-in showers and easy-to-reach shelf installations) to promote ageing in place. For more information on your eligibility on the Home Adaptations for Seniors Independence program, you can visit Housing Nova Scotia. 

Cost of Retiring in Nova Scotia: Budgeting and Financing

Depending on your care needs and your personal lifestyle, you will find that the cost of retiring in Nova Scotia can vary. While Nova Scotia is noted for having much lower costs for housing than other major Canadian provinces, you can expect to pay more when it comes to groceries.  

 For retirees looking for additional financial support, federal programs such as the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and Old Age Security Pension (OAS) are both available to Nova Scotia retirees needing assistance. On a provincial level, Nova Scotians looking for financial assistance paying for long-term care (such as residential care facilities or nursing homes) may receive a reduced rate for care based on their annual income. As long-term care expenses are jointly covered by the long-term care recipient and the Department of Health and Wellness, you may choose to undergo a financial assessment to evaluate the coverage you can receive on accommodation. For more details on paying for long-term care and your accommodation charges, visit the official Nova Scotia website.  

Post-retirement Income Sources

In the case that you do not meet the eligibility criteria for receiving Government funding, you have several options for post-retirement income sources.   

Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs): Using a Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) or a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSAs), your post-retirement income is dependent on the amount you put into these accounts when you first began saving and the interest you received.  

Investment accounts: More commonly, some may look to taxable investment accounts as a post-retirement income source. These can include investments from accounts such as stocks and bonds.  

 Employer-sponsored pension plans: Under an employer-sponsored pension plan, you and your employer can contribute money over the course of your employment. When you decide to retire, you can access the income directly saved from the plan. Nova Scotians in particular are eligible for the Public Service Superannuation Plan (PSSP), a plan funded by you and your employer that offers you a lifetime pension benefit during your retirement. For more information on the PSSP plan, visit the PSSP official website.  

To learn more about your options for post-retirement income sources, visit our resource centre. 

Access to Healthcare

As health care in Canada is funded both federally and provincially, Nova Scotia’s health care plan is managed through their Medical Services Insurance (MSI). The MSI plan offers health care coverage on services such as medically required doctor services, certain dental and optometric services, and particular hospital services. In terms of senior health care, older adults in Nova Scotia are offered financial assistance on covering the cost of their prescription drugs through the Seniors’ Pharmacare Program. To be eligible for coverage, you must have a valid Nova Scotia Health Card, and the prescription must be for a drug covered under the Nova Scotia Formulary.   

Seniors living on a lower income are also offered healthcare and long-term service programs that are partially funded by the Department of Health and Wellness (DHW).  

Home Care: Home Care is a program aimed to deliver assistance to those with both short-term and long-term illnesses by providing services such as personal care, meal preparation, catheter care, intravenous therapy, and more. Nursing services are offered at no additional costs, and the fees are based on both your family size and annual income.  

Home Oxygen: Seniors with illnesses that require home oxygen services are offered coverage (dependent on their income and family size) on portable oxygen tanks and other related supplies.  

Personal Alert Assistance Program: For seniors that have experienced a significant fall 

requiring them to use a walker, wheelchair, or cane, the Personal Alert Assistance Program offers up to $480 annually to cover the costs of a personal alert assistance service.  

Additional Resources

For further information, you can visit and/or contact these sources: 

 Long-term care costs in Nova Scotia: A document covering the costs of long-term care in the province.  

Housing Programs for Seniors: Find information from the official housing department of the province on low-income housing benefits. 

Nova Scotia’s Pharmacare Program: Visit the official website for more details on coverage and eligibility.   

 Living Well Continuing Care Services: A comprehensive guide to all the health and home care programs covered by the provincial health authority and the Department of Health and Wellness.