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Seniors housing is changing with the times

Vibrant, active community living is at the heart of seniors housing, despite the persistent myth that long-term care facilities are dreary, sterile places where seniors are shuttered away as they age.
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Seniors housing provides an opportunity to keep in touch with the community.

Vibrant, active community living is at the heart of seniors housing, despite the persistent myth that long-term care facilities are dreary, sterile places where seniors are shuttered away as they age. It’s time to put that myth firmly out to pasture because there are many facilities providing outstanding care that encompasses seniors’ physical and mental wellbeing. Let’s look at some of the top concerns about seniors housing and learn why you can put those worries aside.

Can I Afford Seniors Housing?

In public and private facilities, the residents are expected to pay an accommodation charge to offset expenses for rooms, meals, housekeeping, transportation, entertainment, and grounds maintenance. In public facilities, the government sets the maximum charge. In private facilities, the fee is set by the operator.

As of July 2019, the average monthly charge for a standard room in a funded facility was $1,705 (semiprivate and private rooms were $1,795 and $2,074 respectively). The standard charge does not apply if the move is for palliative care, and a fee waiver process can be applied for if the charges will cause undue hardship. There are government and income support programs that can also help. Health care in public facilities is provided at no cost to the residents.

Private facilities vary in cost. A senior or a senior’s family member may have a whole life or universal life policy with a cash accumulation. These permanent policies have both a benefit payout upon death and a cash accumulation that can be leveraged separately from the benefit while the insured is alive. The cash accumulation may be used to offset the facility’s cost. Insurance specific to long-term care can also be purchased separately years in advance to fund the move to a private facility.

Public or private, there are options to afford seniors housing. Working with your care team, family, and financial advisor, you may be surprised how easily you can afford the facility you desire.

Will I Be Bored and Lonely?

With a community approach to care, boredom will be the last thing on your mind! Modern private facilities like The Hamlets at Cedarwood Station and Wentworth Manor are conveniently located next to shopping, parks, services, and places of worship. Let’s not overlook the on-site activities such as board games, dances, parties, and movie nights. Some facilities, like Prominence Way allow friends and family to join in the festivities and accompany the senior on field trips. Most have guest suites for visitors to stay overnight, and some facilities allow pets to remain with their owners.

Will I Retain my Independence?

Seniors housing facilities cater to, and provide a mix of housing for, a variety of needs. This includes suites of varying sizes, some with full kitchen and light housekeeping for the active senior on the go. Other suites have kitchenettes for snacks and drinks, while the senior takes their meals in the dining room. Some suites are adapted for those with limited mobility. These are not one-size-fits-all facilities, but places where the senior can age in place comfortably and have their needs accommodated at every stage of their aging process.

Is the Seniors Housing Industry Innovative?

The Brenda Stafford Foundation has two pilot projects underway in the area of dementia-friendly communities. This Foundation has also created an educational resource called A Guide for Creating Dementia Friendly Communities in Alberta to help the care industry develop best practices of long-term care for seniors with dementia. Facilities are also branching away from the “old folks home” stigma – the upcoming Cambridge Manor is being built in Calgary’s young and trendy University District.

Look at Seniors Housing with a New Perspective

Perhaps you or a family member have been dreading the thought of looking into seniors housing, but it’s time to look at your options with a new perspective. Today’s facilities are bright, modern, innovative, community-focused, and allow the residents to retain as much individuality and independence as they want. After all, when one travels to a resort on holiday, we enjoy the housekeeping, meals, and activities – attributes all found in seniors housing too! Whether you are interested in a public or private facility, start the conversation and explore your many options. The answers may be more affordable, and more attractive, than you imagined.