Revera Retirement Poll Launches on National Seniors Day
A first-of-its-kind survey by Revera has revealed that well over half (58 per cent) of Canadian seniors (age 65+) see retirement homes as a support system that preserves their freedom. However, a significant number of surveyed seniors (43 per cent) think retirement living is for people who cannot live independently. In recognition of National Seniors Day, Revera, a leader in the senior living sector, is sparking conversations and dispelling myths and misconceptions about retirement.
To better understand attitudes surrounding retirement residences, Revera surveyed Canadian seniors on the expectations of their life in retirement and their perception of retirement homes. The research also examined seniors’ hobbies and interests, retirement experiences and priorities for a good quality of life in their golden years.
The results show that while most seniors have a clear vision of what they would like out of retirement, many are unclear about their options, what retirement living offers, and the differences between long-term care and retirement living.
“Planning for retirement is a major life decision, and our survey reveals freedom is one of the top priorities for Canadian seniors. The misperceptions many older persons have about retirement living often stops them from fully understanding their options,” said John Beaney, Senior Vice President, Retirement, Revera.
“We find that seniors in our homes often say that if they only knew what senior living was like they would have moved in sooner! Anyone making retirement plans should start by having conversations early, have a good understanding of their priorities in retirement, and explore all the available options,” added Beaney.
Confusion between long term care and retirement living
Of the seniors surveyed, one-third (35 per cent) were confused about the differences between long-term care and retirement living. These seniors believed retirement homes are primarily for people requiring 24-hour health care attention, as provided in a long-term care home. Two in five (41 per cent) seniors who hold this misconception say they are unlikely to move into a retirement home.
“Long term care homes and retirement residences differ in the amount of attention a resident requires. Many Canadians confuse the two, so education is key,” said Dr. Rhonda Collins, Chief Medical Officer, Revera. “At Revera, we’re guided by the Six Dimensions of Wellness, a holistic approach to health and wellness. It prioritizes freedom and independence in all aspects of a person’s life, so our retirement years can be our best.”
The dream vs. the reality of retirement
When it came to the things seniors imagined they would do in retirement, some plans were easier to follow through than others. The survey revealed that three-quarters (78 per cent) of retired seniors and over half (57 per cent) of working seniors imagined traveling in retirement. However, only half (49 per cent) of those who imagined they would travel in retirement say they have actually done so.
Canadian seniors fared better in their plans to spend more time with loved ones and pursue their hobbies. The majority (66 per cent) who said they wanted more time with family were able to follow through on that vision, while four in five (80 per cent) Canadians have followed through on their plans to pursue their favorite activities.
Perceptions of retirement living — freedom and fun
For many Canadian seniors, retirement communities carry a negative connotation. Roughly two-in-five (43 per cent) seniors say retirement residences are restrictive and at odds with an independent lifestyle. Older Canadians may be surprised to know that retirement living offers the same freedom and flexibility as living in one’s own home—but with fewer chores and responsibilities.
While a majority of those surveyed associated retirement living with making new friends, getting extra help with daily activities and learning new things, one-third (33 per cent) thought of loneliness or reduced freedom while considering retirement living. Those who have no plans to move into a retirement home are significantly more likely to hold these negative perceptions.
“Retirement homes offer many flexible options for seniors. From the size of the suite to the level of support required for daily activities – it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. This is why flexibility is key to ensuring seniors can choose how they spend their golden years,” added Beaney.
“Retirement living offers an abundance of choice – from golf simulators and pools to art, wine and bridge clubs – so seniors have options that fit their interests,” Concluded Beaney. “The key is understanding what is most important to you, having conversations early and doing your research to plan your ideal vision for retirement.”
These are the findings of a study by Revera among 1,184 Canadian seniors (65+ years-old) who are members of the online Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted in English and French from July 7-9, 2021. For comparison purposes only, a sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.