What are some of the housing options available to seniors today?
Many wish to stay in their homes, which is definitely workable as long as there are supports in place. But what do you do if that support isn’t available? What other options should you consider?
REALTOR® Gwen Price is one of the cohosts of Ageing in Action, a TV show and podcast on ageing well in Northern Ontario. She has a certificate in gerontology, a SRES® (Seniors Real Estate Specialist®) designation and has long advocated on behalf of seniors. We asked for her thoughts on the best housing options.
“Currently, we are seeing one of the strongest seller’s markets that I have ever experienced. It may make financial sense to sell now rather than later; the money you make from your home can be used to support you in your retirement years,” says Price. It may allow you to travel more and live a comfortable life in a rental apartment or condominium.
Not everyone may want to do that, though.
Aging in place
Most seniors prefer to age in place in their own home, if they can. According to a National Institute of Ageing survey publication dated October 2020, “91% of Canadians of all ages—and 100% of Canadians 65 years of age and older—report that they plan on supporting themselves to live safely and independently in their own home as long as possible.”
A recent CBC Marketplace episode, "Crisis in Home Care", which aired in March 2022, cites studies that have shown that it is less costly to support a senior in their home ($90/day), then it is in long-term care ($210/day) or a hospital ($730/day). It also shows, though, that homecare may not be as easy and as supportive as we hope.
Price certainly understands the desire to age in place. “As a senior myself and as a taxpayer, I believe in staying in your home as long as it is safe and financially possible,” she says. You do, however, need to consider several factors. Ask yourself, can you maintain the home, or do you need help? Can you afford upkeep? Do you need homecare support for any health issues?
The Government of Canada provides some information on other options available to seniors on their website. You can also find information on long-term care homes, retirement homes, rental housing and other housing types on the Ontario Provincial Government website.
As the costs of staying in your own home, a rental or a retirement home increase, seniors are looking for other alternatives. One way to be able to remain in your home—but also get some financial support or help with maintenance—is home-sharing.
On Ageing in Action, Price’s Eastlink Community TV show, the hosts spoke with Dorothy Mazeau from Golden HomeSharing Connections. Drawing on 20 years of experience living in shared homes, Dorothy Mazeau has poured her enthusiasm for this lifestyle into founding Golden HomeSharing Connections and its online database Golden Girls Canada as a way to help others learn about the benefits of home-sharing and find compatible home-mates. Listen to the interview with Dorothy and why she believes there is a need for a wider range of living options for seniors.
Cohousing is another option.
According to the Canadian Cohousing Network, “cohousing is a concept that came to North America in 1988 from Denmark, where it emerged in the early 1960’s. It describes neighbourhoods that combine the autonomy of private dwellings with the advantages of shared resources and community living.”
There are two cohousing projects currently in development in Sudbury. Sweetfern Cohousing is a multigenerational cohousing group and Silver Birch Village is described as “an intentional community of like-minded adults”. In 2020, Monique Fuchs from Sweetfern Cohousing was a guest on Ageing in Action and discussed the project.
Abbeyfield housing is another option that has been discussed in Sudbury. According to their website, “Abbeyfield’s core mandate is to provide affordable accommodation and companionship for lonely elders within their own local community. This is achieved by converting and maintaining houses in which, typically, a small group of residents live together with a house manager. Rooms are usually private but housekeeping and meals are provided by a small staff in the common living space. Each house is a non-profit, registered charity. House ownership and support are undertaken by community volunteers. Abbeyfield is a non-denominational and inclusive organization.”
For more information, visit Gwen Price Homes or call 705-561-2335.