What is the true cost of seniors home support ?

Couple calculating the cost of home support


In Quebec, the majority of seniors live in their homes. Indeed, statistics reveal that 96% of seniors stay at home . Most seniors who are losing their independence may stay with the help of a caregiver.


Although at first sight home support may seem like a good option, it is important to understand that there are nevertheless considerable disadvantages to take into account when choosing accommodation. Expenses in care, the adaptation of the living environment, the situation of the caregiver , as well as the technical assistance of the health network are important points !


Expenses on care and professional services

A senior who has been living in his home for a long time will not have to spend a lot for accommodation. However, it is important to take into account the daily expenses in care for the seniors with loss of autonomy . The health network provides a support policy, offering professional services at home for free, but beware ... the reality is that services are not always available!


In addition, some people do not meet the eligibility criteria. Currently, the demand is very high and many seniors are on a waiting list, leaving caregivers short of resources and respite.


Some examples of care and services to consider:

  • Help with bath

  • Meal service

  • Travel assistance

  • Aid to clothing

  • Housekeeping

  • Clothing care

  • Food aid

  • Transport service

  • Morning toilet

  • Medical services

  • Medical care

  • Psychosocial services

  • Respiratory therapy services

  • Pharmacy services (delivery)

  • Home doctor


Adapt the living environment in a safe way

Staying at home also means adapting your home to make it safe. Depending on the individual's state of health and autonomy, several dispositions must be put in place to meet the needs. For example, a bathroom with shower or adapted bath, an elevated toilet, grab bars in the corridors, the addition of a ramp to the residence, the installation of a lifting platform, etc. 


The health network technical assistance program planned to support these projects has an average waiting list of two years , according to the book Aging in the Right Place. Moreover, the people who have access to it are not always supported in the totality of the expenses, only some projects can be financed, but not always entirely.



The addition of a stairlift can cost up to $ 6,000. An expense that is not always 100% covered, especially if it is a considerable amount.


Stairlift for seniors at home


Note that other daily expenses must be calculated in your budget, such as: uncovered pharmaceutical products, transportation costs for visiting specialists, electricity, heating, cable, phone, internet groceries, rent, etc.

The situation of the caregiver

And the caregiver in all this? The caregiver is a family member or someone who is considered a family member who provides care or support to the elderly person. The caregiver is responsible for engaging in help and services without necessarily having respite .


When the services requested at the CLSC are not available, the caregiver must help the person to perform the daily tasks. Depending on the degree of autonomy, the caregiver can be in the care of the person 24 hours a day. Hence the risk of exhaustion of the caregiver, it is necessary to make sure that another member of the family can take over.


Technical assistance from the health network

As noted above, the average waiting time is over two years to access the technical assistance program. Accessibility to these measures is rather difficult, the Health Network is Social Services must deal with the aging of the population. Professional services have eligibility criteria.


In addition, the daily and domestic help services offered by the CLSC are not always complete to meet the needs. So you have to pay a part of it.


How to make the right decision?

In light of the current situation, we can conclude that because of the difficulties of access to health care provided by the health network, it may be interesting to look at other accommodation options .


First of all, be aware that the older the person is in loss of autonomy, the more they will need care, which will require costs both in terms of the adaptation of the living environment and the level of professional services. In addition, an independent person can also feel alone at home. Knowing this, it is therefore possible to compare the home and other types of accommodation, to verify which accommodation would be more suitable and less expensive.


The example of Ginette

For example, here are the approximate costs of home support vs. the costs of private retirement home for Ginette, a 75-year-old single woman who has lived in her home in Brossard for 35 years. Since then, her house is paid completely. Ginette fell some time ago, which required surgery, since that accident she is tired very quickly. She is therefore in need of help with daily tasks, she plans to use home support services for cleaning, laundry and preparing meals. In addition, an orderly can help her to go to bingo, doctor, grocery store, hair salon, and other activities.

Comparative home support vs private senior home costs


If Ginette chooses the private residence, she can enjoy the services of meals 3 times / day, as well as housekeeping and laundry services. In addition, she will no longer need the travel assistance service, since the residence offers a hair salon, a convenience store, a doctor by appointment and activities within the complex. She can save about $ 357 / month.


Source: Béliard, L., Savard, L. (2019). Aging in the right place: the choice of a hosting environment, the stages, the stakes. Montreal, Quebec: Trécarré Publishing.

Please note that Bonjour Résidences can help you find a private accommodation and check the associated costs and the tax credits which you are entitled, in order to make your choice. Many private residences offer all-inclusive benefits. Contact us at 1 844 918-1020 or fill out an accommodation request now.