Seniors co-op offers a new style of retirement living

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
April 11th, 2010

A uniquely designed community is growing in Castlegar. At the Grandview Heights housing project run by the Kootenay Columbia Seniors Housing Co-operative (KCHSC), they are creating a community where people can “live in place.”

On Friday, Apr. 9 the co-op was in Grand Forks with information about the new senior’s community to invite people to consider their future. A campus style project, the development has options for people to purchase a full home, a duplex, or an apartment in Grandview Manor. The manor will also have, along with the 110 life lease units, recreational facilities, meeting room, clinic, and a convenience shop. The last planned part of the development will be an extended care facility. Although you have to be 55 + to live there, people interested in securing their future can purchase and rent until they come of age.

According to Elmer Verigin, one of the directors of the co-op, the complete development allows people to never have to move away. “When the Interior Health representatives looked at our project they said this was the one type of community they would love to build if they could,” said Verigin. He explained that as a member of the co-op a senior could be living independently in a home on the site, and, when they needed additional care, could then move into the apartment complex and even into the extended care facility eventually. That means that a person would never have to move away, said Verigin.

Director Harry Jukes explained that the entire development is built for seniors, by seniors, and funded by seniors. There is no government funding involved. Agreements are developed for the home owners that provides for the sale of the home or apartment when necessary. Owners have a life lease on their property that remains under the ownership of the co-op. According to Jukes, what makes life lease housing attractive is the sense of community, ability to be involved, and the availability of services in a setting that responds to a person’s changing needs.

Statistics indicate that householders over the age of 60 move an average of 3.23 times during their retirement years. This equates to a move from a single-family to condominium or apartment, to a retirement home and sometimes on to a care facility. The co-op’s community give residents a chance to belong to a community designed to meet their changing needs, said Jukes.

Housing co-operatives have long been an option for low-income housing, but this new development is a unique application of the idea, explained Verigin, creating a community to grow old with friends and neighbours near-by.

Categories: General