Assisted living services provide housing, hospitality services and personal care services for adults who can live independently and make decisions on their own behalf but require a supportive environment due to physical and functional health challenges.
Assisted living residences can range from a unit in a high rise apartment complex to a private home. Units can vary from one room to private, self-contained apartments.
Assisted living services include:
- a private housing unit with a lockable door;
- personal care services (may include assistance with tasks like bathing, grooming, dressing and mobility or tasks delegated by a health care professional);
- two nutritious meals per day, one of which is the main meal;
- access to basic activity programming such as games, music and crafts;
- weekly housekeeping;
- laundering of towels and linen;
- access to laundry equipment for personal laundry;
- heating or cooling as necessary to maintain the safety and basic comfort level of the residence; and
- a 24-hour emergency response system.
Is this care right for me?
Assisted living services may be suitable if you require personal care and hospitality services and are still able to make decisions on your own behalf.
What are the assisted living eligibility criteria?
In addition to the general eligibility criteria for home and community care services, to be eligible for assisted living services, you must:
- require both hospitality services and personal care services;
- be able to make decisions on your own behalf that will allow you to function safely in an assisted living residence, or have a spouse who is going to live with you and is willing and able to make decisions on your behalf;
- be at significant risk in remaining in your current living environment; and
- have agreed to pay the assessed client rate and any additional optional charges for services, programs or supplies that are not included as a benefit but are offered by the service provider.
To read the general eligibility criteria for all home and community care services, go to:
How do I arrange for assisted living services?
If you are interested in receiving assisted living services or know of someone who might be in need of these services, you can contact the home and community care office of your health authority or you can have a health care profession make a referral on your behalf.
For contact information and a detailed description of how to arrange for assisted living services, please see:
Access to assisted living services
Access to assisted living services is on a priority basis once eligibility has been determined, taking into account client needs, existing supports and urgency of the response required. Those with the greatest need and urgency receive access to services first.
Client preference, special amenities and availability of subsidized units in a particular community affects the length of time a person will wait. Clients continue to receive supports in the community while waiting for assisted living services.
How do I decide which assisted living residence is best for me?
It is advisable that you tour prospective residences. Tours need to be scheduled in advance with the assisted living residence staff.
Here are some things you should consider:
- Your geographic location;
- What your personal needs are;
- Language spoken at the residence; and
- What activities the assisted living residence can provide.
Many residences have an information brochure or package that provides an overview of their philosophy, services and will answer many of your questions.
Ask for the service agreement or similar documentation. A service agreement will clarify what services are provided, what services are not available and any extra charges that may apply. Many assisted living residences also have their own websites.
To learn more about assisted living residences in your region, visit the assisted living pages on your health authority website:
Finding an assisted living residence
Under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, all publicly subsidized and private pay assisted living operators in British Columbia must register their residences with the Assisted Living Registry. The Assisted Living Registry maintains a register of publicly subsidized and private pay residences.
To find a registered assisted living residence in your community, go to:
The Assisted Living Registrar posts substantiated complaint information reports, following an investigation, which provide a high-level summary of information on assisted living residences and may result in loss of registration if not remedied. These reports include the type of concern or complaint reported to the registry, and are presented in a way that does not compromise the personal privacy of residents.
To view the reports for assisted living residences, go to:
For more information about the role of the Assisted Living Registry in ensuring health and safety in assisted living residences, go to:
Is there a cost for assisted living services?
If you receive publicly subsidized assisted living services, you will pay a monthly rate based on your income (and the income of your spouse, if applicable), subject to a minimum and maximum monthly rate. Your monthly rate is calculated by multiplying your “after tax income” (as defined in the Continuing Care Fees Regulation) by 70 per cent. For more information, please see:
For 2020, the minimum monthly rate for a single client receiving assisted living services is $1,041.40 per month.
If you and your spouse are living together in an assisted living unit, your monthly client rate will be calculated based on the income of both you and your spouse, subject to a minimum and maximum monthly rate. Your monthly rate will be recalculated if your living situation changes for any reason and you are no longer living with your spouse. For 2020, the minimum monthly rate for a couple living together in an assisted living unit is $1,586.40 per month per couple.
The maximum monthly rate for publicly subsidized assisted living services is based on the market rent for housing and hospitality services for the geographic area where you live, as well as the actual cost of personal care services you receive. For more information on the maximum monthly rate, please contact your health authority.
If you receive the support and shelter allowance under the Employment and Assistance Act or the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act, you will pay a fixed monthly rate for your assisted living services. For more information on these fixed monthly rates, please contact your health authority.
If payment of your assessed monthly rate would cause you or your family serious financial hardship, you may apply to your health authority for a temporary reduction of your monthly rate. For more information, please see "What if I cannot afford my assessed monthly rate?", below.
For more general information on the costs of publicly subsidized home and community care services in B.C., please see:
What if I cannot afford my assessed monthly rate?
If you are receiving publicly subsidized assisted living services and payment of your assessed monthly rate would cause you or your family serious financial hardship, you may be eligible for a reduced rate.
Serious financial hardship means that payment of your assessed monthly rate would result in you (or your spouse, if applicable) being unable to pay for:
- adequate food;
- monthly mortgage/rent;
- sufficient home heat;
- prescribed medication; or
- other required prescribed health care services.
For more information on eligibility and how to apply for a temporary reduction of your monthly rate, please see:
What charges are allowed in addition to my monthly rate?
Assisted living service providers may charge you an additional amount for hydro/heat services (up to a maximum of $18 per month per assisted living unit).
You may also be charged a one-time fee for a refundable damage deposit, based on half of the monthly rent for your assisted living unit. Health authorities must ensure that your damage deposit is refunded at the end of your tenancy, unless there is damage which is determined to be more than expected wear and tear.
What optional services can I choose to pay for in addition to my monthly rate?
Assisted living service providers may also offer you optional services. If you choose to receive any of these optional services, you may be required to pay an additional fee over and above your monthly rate. These optional services may include:
- cable connection and monthly fee;
- personal telephone connection and basic services;
- meals and suite rental for guests;
- outings or special events;
- hair styling, foot care or other personal grooming services;
- housekeeping beyond weekly service;
- personal laundry services;
- parking and deposit on garage door opener;
- fee for pet damage and cleaning;
- equipment rental, at or below market rates; and
- an administration or handling fee to perform a task or service that would normally be your responsibility.