A Guide to Retirement Care & Senior Living in B.C.
Home to great lakes and beautiful mountains, British Columbia is considered by many as an attractive province to retire in. It’s known for holding one of the highest worldwide rankings for quality of life and retirement based on categories such as environment, health care, and stability. When it comes to retirement, many also look to this province as it offers a diverse range of seasonal activities such as boating, hiking, biking, skiing, and fishing. Here at Cared Upon, we can help you find your perfect fit at a retirement community made for you in British Columbia.
Lifestyle & Activities
From biking down the Stanley Park Seawall to morning walks along Long Beach in Tofino, British Columbia is home to various world-class outdoor activities. When it comes to retiring in British Columbia, many older adults choose to call it home for the endless retirement activities and support it offers for their senior population. For instance, those that enjoy travelling greatly benefit from living near tourist destinations that are accessible by ferry or a Greyhound bus ride, which are offered at discounted rates for seniors. Some of these popular destinations offer activities for retirees such as exploring Whistler village, walking the beaches in Tofino, wildlife-watching at a cruise in Victoria, and wine tasting at some of Kelowna's finest wineries. Retirees in B.C. may even enjoy fishing in the surrounding lakes, as seniors are offered a fishing licence at a heavily discounted rate.
Weather and Climate
While the climate is heavily affected by the Pacific Ocean and mountain ranges, B.C. has all four seasons to offer. With a large province like British Columbia, you can expect various climates from wet to dry throughout the different regions. For instance, the south coast offers residents a milder climate year-round, with warm summers and mild winters. However, in the north, you can expect colder and rainier seasons year-round.
Housing options in British Columbia: Finding the Right Fit for you
Older adults residing in British Columbia have a number of options when it comes to retirement housing, from ageing in place to assisted living. Retirees in B.C. are entitled to care and support through either publicly subsidized care or private pay providers. Older adults that are eligible for publicly subsidized home services can access these services through health authorities and contracted providers once they have gone through a formal assessment to determine the type of care they need. On the other hand, individuals who wish to choose their desired care service can do so by accessing these services directly from a service provider. To search for a care service provider in B.C., visit the search portal on caredupon.ca.
Cost of Retiring in British Columbia: Budgeting and Financing
The cost of retiring in British Columbia can vary depending on the city you reside in and the quality of care you wish to receive. For instance, the cost of assisted living in B.C. typically starts at $3000, but you may find subsidized options to fit your budget. Factors such as the type of healthcare needed, the lifestyle you wish to have, and how much money you’ll receive from investments and pensions will all impact the cost of your retirement plan. You can access the Canadian Government website as they provide a useful budget planning tool to help set you up for your personal retirement goals.
When retiring in B.C., you may also access several financial resources funded by the Government to help you prepare and pay for your retirement. If eligible, you may access funding through Government programs such as the Canadian Pension Plan Retirement Pension (CPP), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), Old Age Security Pension (OAS), and the Allowance for the Survivor benefit program. Additionally, low-income seniors residing in B.C. that are entitled to Old Age Security Pension (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) allowances can continue receiving these payments even when moved into a long-term care facility. For more information on Government contributions, visit our care blog.
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: You may prepare for retirement through more common forms of post-income sources using taxable investment accounts. 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.
To learn more about your options for post-retirement income sources, visit our resource centre.
Access to Healthcare
Planning and supporting the health care of B.C.’s senior population is vital, as it is estimated that by 2029 approximately 30% of Canada’s seniors will be aged 75-84. Health care in B.C is ultimately managed by the Ministry of Health through a public health care system. Seniors residing in B.C. have access to various healthcare programs, such as HealthLink BC, PharmaCare, the Travel Assistance Program, and the Medical Services Plan.
Medical Services Plan (MSP): To access health care, all B.C. residents are required to sign up through MSP. Through the Medical Services Plan (MSP), British Columbians are insured for medically required services. Some of these medically required services include diagnostic procedures, laboratory services, physician and surgeon services, and approved dental and oral surgery services.
The Fair PharmaCare plan: Eligible seniors residing in B.C. can receive coverage on prescription drugs and medical supplies through The Fair PharmaCare plan, a health care plan that assists B.C. seniors with medical costs based on their personal income.
HealthLink BC: HealthLink BC provides British Columbians with 24/7 access to non-emergency health services and information in the province. Their information services cover the topics of health and health care, symptoms you are experiencing, and ways to manage healthy living.
Travel Assistance Living: The Travel Assistance Program (TAP) offers patients that require transportation to physician-referred, non-emergency services within the province when a specialist is not available in a community surrounding them. Transportation is offered at a discounted rate and is available to those who do not have travel expenses covered by insurance or other government programs.
For further information, you can visit and/or contact these sources:
Fair PharmaCare: 604-683-7151 (Lower Mainland) or 1-800-663-7100 (Toll-free)
HealthLink BC: non-emergency health information hotline 8-1-1 toll-free or for deaf/hard of hearing patients: 7-1-1
Seniors Health Care Support Line: 1-877-952-3181
SeniorsBC - A resource centre for all older adults residing in B.C.
BC Seniors’ Guide – Information guide to all things healthy lifestyle-related for seniors