Demand for Ethnic Nursing Homes Spikes as Population Diversifies

As North America’s older demographic continues to grow, the population’s demand for nursing homes that accommodate specific ethnicities is growing as well, according to a Toronto Star article

Residents of ethnic-specific facilities feel more comfortable when they are able to communicate in their native language, eat traditional meals and participate in cultural activities, the article says, but as demographic diversity increases, so do the wait times to get into one of these specialized facilities. 

The Toronto Star reports:


Toronto already has a number of long-term care facilities that cater to specific cultural groups such as Yee Hong and Mon Sheong for the Chinese population, Hellenic Home for the Greek community, Villa Colombo in North York for those with Italian heritage, Suomi-Koti in Leaside for the Finnish population and Baycrest Centre for the Jewish community, just to name a few. Yet seeking a home according to language and ethnospecific care is still challenging because demand is greater than availability.

At Hellenic Home, to get a spot in a standard room takes approximately four years. The home says its reputation for offering excellent care has helped it grow but not fast enough. Hellenic Home, like Yee Hong, has activities that are geared specifically to its community. Such activities are designed to engage seniors, some of them with Alzheimer’s and dementia, allowing them to smell, taste and touch materials while reminiscing about their past. The idea is to remind residents of their youth, encouraging feelings of happiness and belonging to their community as well as spirituality.

Homes such as Hellenic Home and Yee Hong keep ethnicity and culture in mind when determining everything from menus to fundraisers to daily activities. The aim is to provide an atmosphere that is both comfortable and familiar to the seniors. Residents at Yee Hong do Chinese calligraphy and play mah-jong, activities they participated in when they were young. 


While the onus is on the children to ensure that their parents are taken care of, culturally-specific homes like Yee Hong and Hellenic Home help take some of the stress off the children. Knowing their parents are receiving ethnically-oriented care, from staff who understand specific customs, traditions, language and spiritual requirements, helps give both children and their parents peace of mind.

Read the full Toronto Star article

Written by Erin Hegarty