Relocate to Kelowna?

Dear Nurse Kris;
My parents live in Newfoundland, and I live in Summerland, BC. They are strongly considering moving to Kelowna. I’ve always thought of Kelowna as a pretty "spendy" place to live. What should I be telling my parents to look into? I don’t have a lot of time to help them as I’m busy with my own kids and their problems and I work and look after my own house. Can you give me any ideas to advise them about?
Sarah in Summerland, BC
Dear Sarah;
Kelowna consistently ranks near the top in UN-affordability of housing in all of Canada. While the winters out East are brutish, the cost of living in Kelowna is similarly brutish.
I have come across a great study recently done by a Master of Arts - Interdisciplinary Studies student at UBC-O, by the name of Heather Catherine Brown (Brown, 2013). In her thesis called “Aging Gracefully: A case Study of Seniors in Kelowna’s Housing Market”, she finds that seniors already living here do say that Kelowna’s housing market is expensive and that these seniors recommend that the location of the new home be close to amenities. They also recommend that a senior/senior couple, rent first for one year before deciding to buy a home. These study participants all recommend that the City of Kelowna add more affordable housing options. Recommendations were also made by these seniors that the three levels of government do more to make housing more affordable for seniors.
The main keys to success for your parents, according to this thesis (Brown, 2013), is maintaining social connections, having a good sense of personal well-being, and having available home support services.
Many respondents to this study said that they incorporated the help of realtors, family members and friends as well as doing on line research and enquiries in making decisions about what kind of housing would best suit their needs. Many seniors feel that it is their ‘right’ to stay in their own homes for as long as possible (and in most cases, they are right about that).
Sarah, I think your parents should investigate the housing market with the assistance of someone they trust, to make non-conflict recommendations to them. There is a lot to keep in mind to be sure. Your parents should think of the things that are important to them (access to medical services, golf courses nearby, values around privacy and space, proximity to family etc), determine what their funds are and plan what the best living and housing situation is, based on the answers to those questions.
In Kelowna, there are a wide range of options; from living in an owned detached home, to apartments that are subsidized, to ‘campuses of care’ which have both Assisted Living condos and residential care beds, in the same large building. Or, supportive housing, where most meals are taken in a common dining room, and some also have a variety of specialized purpose rooms such as a wood working shop, a movie theatre, a hair salon, a general store, a gift shop etc. Housing affordability will determine where your mom and dad can live. The cost of housing should be no more than 30% of their available income (Brown, 2013).
Kelowna also has one or two professional geriatric care managers who know the seniors housing industry well. They could be contacted and asked for assistance as they know the seniors housing market well and have no conflict of interest in deciding which housing option is best.
Best of luck Sarah,
Nurse Kris

Brown, H. C. (2013, March). Aging Gracefully: A case study of seniors in Kelowna's Housing Market. Masters Thesis, The Unversity of British Columbia, Kelowna.

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About the Author

Kris Stewart is the owner, CEO and Clinical Director of Advanced Home Care Solutions Inc, based in Kelowna. She is a well-known, well respected Registered Nurse with advanced nursing and business degrees; she is also an inveterate health care entrepreneur, establishing health care enterprises in Canada and the USA. She is a sought after public speaker on health care and seniors matters, as well as workplace dynamics, and has won several national awards for her work in health care. She is a distinguished Alumni of Thompson Rivers University. Her professional mandate is to ensure that private health care options remain accessible and affordable for all.

Kris can be reached at:  [email protected]

Advanced Home Care Solutions:  http://www.advancedhomecaresolutions.com/about-kris-stewart


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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