A Guide to Retirement Care & Senior Living in St. John’s

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St. John’s is the easternmost city in North America and is located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. Starting as a fishing outpost for European fishermen, St. John's consisted mostly of the homes of fishermen, and storage shacks. Today, the city’s unique history can still be seen in St. John's is brightly colored downtown, aptly nicknamed “Jelly Bean Row”. The city has a laidback attitude where residents can live a quiet, reserved lifestyle. For a little change of pace, residents also have many opportunities to enjoy live music, open theatres, and craft sessions throughout this scenic maritime city. No matter your preferences when it comes to deciding on a retirement community, let Cared Upon help you find a community in St. John’s that suits your needs.  

Lifestyle and Activities

For a small urban center, St. John’s is full of things to do. Each year, party-going residents can look forward to the iconic George Street Festival in August and the Mardi Gras Festival in October. The LSPU Hall is a heritage building that now houses the Resource Centre for the Arts in St. John’s and is regarded as the backbone of artistic infrastructure. Here, seniors can experience the city’s vibrant, diverse arts community. Additionally, The St. John's Arts and Culture Centre contains an art gallery, multiple libraries and a 1000-seat theatre, which is the city's major entertainment venue.  

If you’re more interested in exploring the outdoors, St. John’s is home to multiple urban greenspaces, steeped in history. Pippy Park on east end of the city is one of Canada's largest urban parks with more than 1,400 hectares of land. This enormous park boasts two golf courses, the province’s largest serviced campground, and trails for walking and skiing. Bowring Park, in the Waterford Valley, is one of the most scenic parks in St. John's, and for a taste of history, you can check out the Victorian-style Bannerman Park located near downtown St. John’s. 

Weather and Climate

In St. John's, the summers are short and comfortable; the winters are long, freezing, snowy, and windy; and it is partly cloudy year-round. Of major Canadian cities, St. John's is the foggiest, experiencing an average of 124 days of fog each year, and windiest with average windspeeds of 24.3 km/h. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from -7°C (19.4°F) to 21°C (69.8°F) and is rarely below -14°C (6.8°F) or above 26°C (78.8°F). 

Housing Options in Newfoundland and Labrador: Finding the Right Fit for You

Seniors in Newfoundland and Labrador can choose from several different senior homes, whether it may be a long-term care home or a personal care home. Retirees are entitled to care and support through either publicly subsidized care or private pay providers. To search for a care service provider in Newfoundland and Labrador, you can visit our search portal on caredupon.ca.   

Older adults that are eligible for publicly subsidized home services can access these services through the Department of Health and Community Service. Subsidies are offered to seniors residing in long-term care facilities, personal care homes, and protective community residences. Eligibility is based on a financial assessment used to decide the amount of subsidy that may be offered to each individual senior. For more information on care home subsidies, visit the Newfoundland and Labrador government website.   

Cost of Retiring in Newfoundland and Labrador: Budgeting and Financing

Depending on the care you require and your personal lifestyle, the cost of retiring in Newfoundland and Labrador may vary. However, Newfoundland and Labrador is often noted for having a lower cost of living compared to the national average for Canadian cities - including lower costs for housing.   

 In terms of care homes, the maximum cost of publicly operated long-term care facilities in Newfoundland and Labrador will cost you no more than $2990 per month. However, the price of privately owned care homes will differ depending on the facility you choose. You may also find subsidized options to fit your budget. To find out more about paying for care in Newfoundland, visit the official Newfoundland and Labrador website.   

 For seniors wishing to age in place, the Newfoundland and Labrador government helps with monthly expenses for those needing added help. Through the Provincial Home Repair Program (PHRP), seniors living on a low to moderate income are offered financial aid by covering the cost of home renovations that help promote their independence through accessibility changes.   

 Seniors living in the province also have access to the Newfoundland and Labrador seniors’ benefit, which is a program designed to supply a tax-free annual benefit of $1,313. This program is offered to eligible seniors who are aged 65 and single, or to married senior couples making $29,402 or less. For senior families with a joint income between $29,402-$40,663, they are eligible to receive part of this benefit.   

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.  

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

Access to Healthcare

Health insurance is covered by The Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Care Plan (MCP) and administered through the Department of Health and Community Services, where residents can receive coverage on all medically necessary services provided by a doctor.   

Newfoundland and Labrador also offer eligible seniors added health coverage on prescription drugs and medical supplies through government-funded healthcare programs:  

The Prescription Drug Program (NLPDP): If you are below a certain income threshold or if you require prescription medication that costs you anywhere from 5-10% of your annual income, you are eligible for the provincial Prescription Drug Program (NLPDP) that helps cover the cost of these drugs.   

The 65 Plus Plan: The 65 Plus Plan supplies prescription drug coverage to seniors aged 65 and up who are receiving the Old Age Security Benefits (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement.   

Adult Dental Program: Through this program, seniors living in the province can receive basic dental services including x-ray services, routine fillings, extractions, as well as denture coverage.   

Additional Resources

Medical Care Plan (MCP): You can find a detailed list of physician services covered for residents.   

Non-emergency Health Helpline: Call the Newfoundland and Labrador Health Line for non-emergency-related health inquiries at 811 or 1-888-709-2929 (TTY: 1-888-709-3555).