Where to Begin

Your care needs will change over time. What type of programs and services will be available to you and what you pay, will depend on where you live and the personal choices you make.

Assisted living options – whether subsidized or private pay – offer a mix of accommodation, care and personal support services to persons with a range of light to medium care needs.

Home care is available in most communities but access to publicly-funded services varies widely and ability to address higher care needs is highly dependent on caregiver support.

Long-term care homes – also called nursing homes, personal care homes or special care homes - provide higher, more complex levels of care, usually to older adults who require 24-hour nursing care and supervision and extensive assistance with activities of daily living such as eating, toileting and bathing.

Extendicare offers a range of care, accommodation and services.

You’re not just choosing a home, you’re choosing the right home.

When looking for the right home, it is important to consider your unique needs, preferences and circumstances. You or your loved one’s physical functioning, mental capacity, personal interests, financial circumstances and social supports all affect what setting and services are most appropriate. Begin by researching what services are available in your community. Extendicare’s home locator is a good place to start.

Once you have a list of homes, determine your priorities. Ask yourself what really matters to you and your loved one: Is it the location, size or reputation of the facility? Is it the atmosphere and culture of the home? Is it ability to meet current and future health care needs such as special programs offered? Is there urgency for placement?

Start your research online, but ensure you talk with family, friends, government agencies and health care professionals. Armed with all the information you’ve gathered, narrow down the list and visit your top sites.

We’ve developed a list of questions to take with you on your home tours. It will help organize and focus your visit and gather consistent information on each home. Then later, you can compare the alternatives and make the best decision possible.

Download a copy of the Home Tour checklist

Accessing Care

Your care needs will change over time and eventually you may need the type of extensive, 24-hour care and support provided in long-term care. Long-term care homes are owned and operated by various organizations, but all homes are funded in the same manner and required to meet the same legislation and regulations. Click on links below for information on how to access care in your community.


In Ontario, the local Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS) coordinates all applications to long-term care homes. Here are the steps in the process:

  1. Your local HCCSS will assess your needs to ensure long-term care is the right care setting for you.
  2. The HCCSS provides you with lists, including wait times, and other basic information about the homes in your community.
  3. Your local HCCSS can help you choose and apply to a maximum of five homes.
  4. The HCCSS can assess whether your income can cover the cost of long-term care. Fees are the same across Ontario and are established by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). The MOHLTC provides funding for homes and the amount you pay for, depending on your accommodation preferences and your income, is called a co-payment. If you can’t pay for basic accommodation, you may apply for a subsidy.
  5. Contact your local HCCSS to begin: Click "Looking for Care?" on hssontario.ca


In Alberta, Health Link Alberta, a centralized government agency, will refer you to your local Continuing Care Placement office. Here are the steps in the process:

  1. Alberta Health Services (AHS) will refer you to your local Continuing Placement Office.
  2. A Placement Coordinator will work with you to find a suitable centre for assessment and admission, if you can no longer be cared for in your own home.
  3. Seniors with a lower income may be eligible for financial assistance through the Alberta Seniors Benefit program.
  4. Contact your local Health Link Alberta at 1.866.408.5465 or My.Health.Alberta.ca


In Manitoba, the Regional Health Authority (RHA) manages admissions to long-term care – except in Winnipeg, where there is a separate long-term care access centre within the RHA. Here are the steps in the process:

  1. A doctor will complete an application form and submit an assessment to the RHA for you.
  2. The RHA will bring together a panel or a number of professionals to assess your needs. The RHA will decide on the best options for you.
  3. The RHA will also assist you in choosing a home.
  4. Contact your RHA