What are the different type of Seniors’ Housing?
Types of Housing
There are many different types of housing options available to older adults in British Columbia. Our Seniors Housing Finder is divided by both the type of housing and the location. We have also created a Housing Grid that provides a quick summary on the different types of housing:
Seniors non-profit or subsidized housing is affordable rental housing for individuals over 55 years of age with low incomes. Rent is subsidized by the government or another source, and is normally set at 30% of income. Generally (though not always) there are no services provided and the apartment units are small bachelor suites. There are long waitlists for subsidized housing so it is important to apply early.
BC Housing Buildings
BC Housing is a crown corporation of BC, and it owns and operates many subsidized buildings in the province. To apply for a BC Housing building you must get on their centralized applicant database (the “Housing Registry”) by filling out a BC Housing Application. For more information contact BC Housing.
Other Non-profit Buildings
In addition to BC Housing, there are many non-profit societies offering subsidized housing to seniors. Even though many of the buildings receive subsidies from BC Housing, they are operated by the individual societies, so you must apply to these buildings directly. Call or visit these buildings to obtain application forms.
**When selecting Subsidized Housing on Seniors Services Society’s Housing Finder, notice the “Housing Provider” listed. If it says “BC Housing” you must apply to the Housing Registry; if it lists another housing provider, you must apply to the provider directly.
Co-operative Housing (Co-op)
This type of housing is not just for older adults and varies in cost. There may be some subsidies available in Co-ops, however they are jointly owned and thus you must pay a refundable share purchase when entering Co-op housing. You must also contribute a certain amount of time to the running of the co-op. For more information on Co-ops and listings of Co-ops currently taking applications contact Co-op Housing Federation of BC.
Single Room Occupancy (SRO)
This housing is not just for older adults. SRAs are single room accommodation hotel style housing with no services, usually no cooking facilities and shared bathrooms. LIUS is Low Income Urban Singles. More information is available from BC Housing.
Supportive Housing – Retirement Homes
Housing for older adults only; Generally includes at least one meal a day, emergency response system, housekeeping and social and recreational opportunities. This housing option is usually private (not subsidized), though there are a few subsidized supportive housing units available through BC Housing’s Seniors Supported Housing (SSH) program. For more information on the SSH program contact BC Housing.
Assisted Living – Public and Private
Housing for older adults; includes meal services, emergency response system, housekeeping, social and recreational opportunities with additional assistance with personal activities such as bathing or taking medications. Assisted Living is available with or without subsidies. Public assisted living facilities are operated by the local health authority (for example Vancouver Coastal Health), require a health assessment for admittance, and generally cost 70% of income. There are generally waitlists for public Assisted Living facilities. For more information on Assisted Living contact the Assisted Living Registrar.
Long Term Care and Hospices – Public and Private
Residential Care provides care and supervision for individuals who can no longer manage in their own homes. Residential Care is available with or without subsidies. Hospices provide palliative care for people nearing the end of their life. For more information visit the Ministry of Health website.
Are You a housing provider who would like to be listed in the Seniors Housing Directory of BC?
Housing Providers who would like to list their housing in our directory and also on our website can do so by contacting our office at 604-520-6621 or Email. At this time there is no charge to be listed in our Seniors Housing Directory of BC.
Housing providers are required to complete a form that will include all the information listed in the directory. The type of housing is determined based on the information provided. All housing listed as Assisted Living must be registered with the Assisted Living Registrar.
My mother lives alone and has fallen in the past, I would like to install a personal alarm system, who offers them?
Personal alarm systems monitor people who live alone in case of a medical emergency. These systems usually include a pendant that is worn by the individual and device that is attached to their telephone.
For more information contact:
Lifeline at 1-866-784-1992
I would like to stay in my own home but find cooking to be a problem, who can I contact for Meals on Wheels?
The following are some of the private and non profit agencies that provide food and Meals on Wheels across the lower mainland.
The Greater Vancouver Foodbank Society link: https://foodbank.bc.ca/find-help/our-locations/
New Westminster Community Food Hub | Olivet Church 613 Queens Avenue
Other Meals on Wheels Programs:
Burnaby Meals on Wheels – 604-299-5778 x23 link: http://www.mealsonwheels-burnaby.com/
Tri-Cities Meals on Wheels – 604.942.7506 link: https://www.pocomomealsonwheels.com/
Langley Meals on Wheels – 604-533-1679 link: https://lmow.ca/
North Shore Meals on Wheels – 604-922-3414 link: http://northshoremealsonwheels.org/index.html
Richmond Meals on Wheels – 604-732-7638 or 604-292-7200 (serves Cantonese/Chinese meals) link: https://www.carebc.ca/
Squamish Meals on Wheels – 604-848-6898 link: http://squamishwellness.ca/meals-on-wheels-coming-to-squamish-and-surrounding-area/
Surrey North Delta Meals on Wheels – 778-590-1433 link: https://www.sndmow.com/
Vancouver Meals on Wheels – 604-733-6615 (serves Cantonese/Chinese meals) link: https://www.carebc.ca/
White Rock Meals on Wheels – 604-541-6325 (Serves Ocean Park, Crescent Beach, and South Surrey) link: https://www.whiterockmealsonwheels.com/
My mother is going into an Assisted Living facility. Who is responsible for making sure they are safe?
The Assisted Living Registrar is responsible for ensuring the safety and health standards at Assisted Living facilities. For more information contact:
Office of the Registrar at 1-866-714-3378. (toll-free)
I need to modify my home to accommodate my new wheelchair who will help?
The HAFI (Home Adaptations for Independence) program provides financial assistance for home modifications for eligible low-income British Columbians with mobility or health issues.
HAFI is a grant program for people with diminished physical abilities. It helps low-income households pay for modifications to their home for accessibility. Many past recipients were older adults but the funding is available to help people of any age and families with children. If you qualify, you could receive up to $20,000 in financial assistance. Please contact BC Housing for further information:
Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) Inquiry Line
604-433-2218 (Lower mainland)
Toll Free Number: 1-800-257-7756 (from anywhere in B.C.)
Who do I call if I think I cannot pay my rent?
Contact the society for information on applying to programs to assist with rental costs and information on low income housing at 604-520-6621. The society has information on SAFER which is a BC Housing rental subsidy program or can assist with finding and applying for lower cost housing. For more information about applying for SAFER contact BC Housing directly or call 604-433-2218 or 1-800-257-7756. https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/rental-assistance-financial-aid-for-home-modifications/shelter-aid-for-elderly-renters
I want to know more about Assisted Living and Long Term Care, should I get on the wait list now?
Referrals are only through the Health Authority. After an assessment determines that care is needed the facility placement wait-list can be as little as three months but on most occasions may be 6 months to a year. With the First Available Bed policy (FAB) clients may temporarily have to go to another facility first where there is an available bed before they are placed in their preferred facility.
For more information call:
Vancouver Coastal Health
Fraser Health Authority
I/my partner is a veteran who can I contact to find out if I am entitled to any benefits?
Former members of Canadian Forces and their dependents may be entitled to some benefits. For more information contact Veterans Affairs Canada at 1-866-522-2122.
Where do I go to apply for my Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) pension?
To apply for pensions contact Social Development Canada office. To find the nearest office and more about pensions call 1-800-277-9914.
How do I refer a New Westminster senior (60+) to Seniors Services Society’s Support Services programs?
You can do a self-referral over phone or through family/friend/agency. Please call 604-520-6621 to speak with the program coordinators.
How can I get a bus pass?
Low income older adults and people with disabilities are eligible for a bus pass. For more information, contact Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction at 1-866-866-0800.
Who do I call if I think I need some help at home with personal care?
To be assessed for home support services such as bathing or medication reminders, there are home support programs available. For an assessment, contact your local home health office for subsidized home care services.
- Fraser Health Authority – 1-855-412-2121 (From Burnaby up to and including Hope).
- Vancouver Coastal Health – 604-736-2033 (Vancouver, Richmond, North Shore and Coast Garibaldi Regions)