Connecting Seniors with Care  

Why Move to Supportive Housing

I still have many families contact me asking how they can get their parents to realize the benefits of moving to supportive housing.  They still have the perception that it is a place for ‘old’ people or that this is where you go to die.

These perceptions are so far from the truth. Living in a supportive housing residence can add to the enjoyment of a senior’s life.  It is at least worth the time of seniors to tour the supportive housing locations and stay for lunch.

Supportive Housing provides accommodation and meals for seniors, in addition to many other services.  The average age of the residents is 82 years.  The intent of Supportive Housing is to make the seniors feel at home while having their meals prepared and housekeeping done for them.  Supportive Housing allows the seniors to come and go as they choose and still be part of a community. 

Seniors who move into Supportive Housing are active people.  Over time they may need to use walkers or other devices to assist with ailments due to aging.  One of the best aspects of living in Supportive Housing is that the seniors always have company.  This alone will aid in improving their overall wellbeing.  Even if the seniors only come down for meals and then return to their suites they have had some interaction with others.

It is important to determine the needs and wants of the seniors to ensure that they move into the Supportive Housing residence that best meets their needs.  The needs of the families must also be taken into consideration, especially if there is only one caregiver.  It is always best if the seniors themselves made the decision to move. 

Living in Supportive Housing allows seniors to be with other people who can relate to what is happening in their lives – an illness, the death of a spouse or war time memories.  Often new friendships develop between the seniors and they begin to watch out for each other.

There are no furnishings in the suite which allows the seniors to bring their special belongings with them.  Most suites will have a small fridge and perhaps a microwave.  Usually all utilities are included in the monthly rent.  At some residences the seniors are responsible for their cable television and telephone.

Having the 24-hour emergency call system can be a comfort to the seniors and their families.  When seniors are living in Supportive Housing and they push the emergency call button, assistance is there in minutes.  If required the family or an ambulance will be called.  

The move into Supportive Housing can be a major stress reliever for families.  Another set of eyes is watching out for the seniors.  The families will usually be informed of any changes that have been noticed in the seniors.  This could include changes in hygiene, quantity of food eaten and overall manner of the seniors.  It is then up to the families to investigate the reason for the change and take action to correct it.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Sharen Marteny created Seniors Consulting a division of Marteny Seniors Consulting Ltd, which assists families of seniors determine the needs and wants of seniors when living at home is no longer an option. Care Coordination is done for seniors when the family does not live in the area and provides a temporary 24-hour emergency contact to allow families to take a well deserved vacation or respite.

She is a member of the United Way Campaign and focuses on raising funds for registered charities that relate to seniors. She is also on the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission Advisory Board to ensure the products and services that seniors need will be available. Sharen's goal is to ensure that issues relevant to seniors are addressed.

She is a Certified Seniors Advisor with over 25 years experience in management and the seniors' retirement industry.



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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