Seaside Magazine Starfish

Common Cents – Financial Considerations to Afford Private Senior Living

by Bonnie Harris, Amica Beechwood Village – 

Full disclosure: I am not a certified financial advisor. However, I have worked with hundreds of seniors and families over the past 12 years during a very stressful time of their lives. One of the most important decisions retirees will make is if or when to move from their home into senior living. There is no rule book! Seniors will weigh the pros and cons and decide whether to stay home, or take advantage of the hospitality services and amenities that seniors’ residences offer. There are so many options now available, and services that allow them to focus on well-deserved retirement and time with their family, friends and leisure pursuits.

The best advice is to find a certified financial advisor who has experience with senior wealth management. Clearly there are very different considerations for seniors, especially if they plan to move into senior living and if they require personal care. 

Financial advisors will review a client’s current financial portfolio, then project how much money they will need during their retirement years. This plan should include potential care costs which, over the next 25 years, are expected to increase dramatically. Seniors benefit by being knowledgeable on the cost of healthcare in retirement and planning for it by saving effectively.

Being informed will give seniors confidence to ask the right questions when consulting their advisor, who will help their clients understand the potential tax benefits and financial implications of moving to a retirement residence. For example, some hospitality and care services may be tax deductible, and private senior living companies will provide a statement each year to show those expenses. Here are a few questions seniors may want to ask when working with a financial advisor:

• How should I invest the equity from the sale of my home?

• How much money will I need if I should need care in the future?

• What is more cost-effective: hire in-home care services or sell my home and move to a residence where the care is provided?

• Are there tax credits to which I may be entitled?

• How do I apply for disability credits to reduce taxable income?

Many seniors have likely worked with a trusted advisor for many years. However, if someone does have concerns, they can check if their financial adviser or firm is registered using the national registered search on the Canadian Securities Administrators website,, or There is also no harm in obtaining a second opinion to ensure they have the right advisor that understands their unique financial situation. 

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