3 Types of Government Assistance Programs to Help You Afford Assisted Living Costs

If you’ve ever considered assisted living options for yourself or a loved one, you’ve likely wondered about the costs involved. Assisted living facilities offer a supportive environment with various services, but navigating the financial side can feel overwhelming. This article explores the various government assistance programs available to ease the financial strain of assisted living.

Understanding the Costs

Costs vary depending on the level of care needed. Independent living options like those offered by Harrison Communities are typically the most affordable, followed by assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care. Location can also significantly affect costs; urban locations are more expensive than rural areas.

Amenities and services also affect the expenses, and facilities offering a wider range will have higher monthly fees. You will also have to factor in healthcare costs, as Medicare may not cover all medical expenses incurred in a retirement home. Planning for long-term care needs is also essential, as the need for additional care can significantly increase costs down the line.

Government Assistance Programs

Several government programs can help make assisted living more affordable:

1.   Needs-based Programs

There are two major types of needs-based programs:

  • Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS): These federal programs provide monthly payments to low-income seniors aged 65 and older. While they may not specifically cover assisted living costs, they can contribute to overall financial stability.
  • Provincial or Territorial Assistance: Each province and territory in Canada offers its own financial assistance programs for seniors, such as income supplements or assistance with healthcare costs. These programs vary by region, so you must check with your provincial or territorial government for specific details.

2.   Veterans Programs

Veteran programs in Canada, specifically about assisted living costs, are offered through Veteran Affairs Canada (VAC). Here’s a breakdown of the programs you might be eligible for:

  • Aid and Attendance (A&A): This benefit provides additional financial assistance in addition to disability pensions or the basic Veterans allowance. It’s designed for veterans and surviving spouses who require help with daily activities, live in an assisted living facility, or need care at home.
  • Veterans health care: Veterans with specific medical needs may be eligible for long-term care facilities operated by VAC. These facilities provide nursing care and other medical services.
  • Home care services: Veterans who require some care but want to remain at home may be eligible for home care services funded by VAC. These services assist with daily activities like bathing, dressing, and medication management.

Eligibility requirements and available benefits can change, so it’s best to contact VAC directly to discuss your specific situation and see if you qualify for any programs.

3.   Provincial Programs

Many provinces and municipalities in Canada offer financial assistance programs for seniors needing help with assisted living costs. Unlike federal programs, these can vary significantly depending on where you live.

  • Income assistance: Each province has its own income assistance program for low-income residents. Some may allocate a portion specifically for assisted living expenses.
  • Special seniors benefits: Many provinces have additional programs targeted towards low-income seniors. These include Alberta’s Seniors Benefit or Ontario’s Special Needs Assistance Program for Seniors. They often provide financial aid or top-ups to help with housing costs, including assisted living facilities.

To find more info on provincial programs, look for the ministry or department responsible for seniors’ services on your province or territory’s official website.

4.   Municipal Programs

Municipal programs specifically for assisted living are rare. However, some municipalities might offer property tax breaks or subsidies for seniors living in affordable housing options. To learn more about the programs available, contact your local municipal office and inquire about any programs or resources they offer for seniors, including those related to assisted living costs. Many communities also have non-profit organizations that focus on senior support. They may have information on local programs.


Assisted living facilities can involve a variety of costs, and so affording senior housing facilities can be difficult for some people. You can opt for independent living options or government assistance programs that make assisted living easier. By exploring the government programs mentioned above and understanding their eligibility requirements, you can significantly increase the affordability of assisted living and ensure a secure and comfortable environment for yourself or a loved one.