Supportive housing includes accommodation and an array of hospitality services that support independence and add to quality of life. Core hospitality services include dining, housekeeping and laundry services as well as social and recreation programs and emergency response.
Supportive housing residences can also be referred to as retirement communities or independent living. For the most part this housing model is privately paid for by individual residents.
Assisted Living in BC essentially means the same thing as Supportive Living means in Alberta. Both are housing models consisting of private resident accommodation within a communal setting, provided with individualized hospitality and personal care services based on the unique needs of each resident. In BC and Alberta, both publically funded and privately paid Assisted Living / Supportive Living accommodations are available, thereby making these services accessible to individuals of all income levels. Legislation and regulation is the same for all providers, regardless of funding source.
In BC, the inclusion of personal care services is what differentiates assisted living from other forms of seniors housing. All assisted living residences in BC must be registered with the Office of the Assisted Living Registrar. The Registrar is a government office responsible for ensuring health and safety standards for seniors are upheld in the assisted living environment. The Registrar’s web site offers useful information for seniors concerning assisted living residences.
In Alberta, the Supportive Living Accommodation Standards set out the mandatory requirements that both public and private operators must meet to ensure delivery of quality accommodation services to residents. The accommodation standards exist to ensure that all supportive living providers deliver services that enhance the safety, security and quality of life for residents. There are 32 specific standards which are explained in detail in this Alberta Health Services document.
Residential care (also known as “complex care”) is appropriate for individuals whose health care requirements are greater than what can be delivered in a housing environment. An admission to residential care is triggered by a resident’s increasing need for 24 hour professional nursing care and support. Significant physical frailty and/or cognitive impairment would also prompt a need for residential care services.
Residential care services are frequently delivered by private operators like inSite under contract to government, in a health campus-type setting. A health campus generally consists of funded and/or market housing, assisted or supportive living and residential care, all in the same location / property. This innovative concept allows seniors to “age in place”, by providing access to the appropriate level of service as their needs change over time. It is also a wonderful option for couples or siblings who wish to live close together but may have different needs.