Forever Young Information

Canada's Adult Lifestyle Publication

Housing Roundup: Report catalogues cost of life on a sailboat

September 21, 2014 - 0 comments

The website makes a compelling case that living out of a sailboat in the Caribbean or in other global warm spots can be a relatively inexpensive way to spend one’s retirement years.

The website offers sample costs for the lifestyle in a recently published report, titled Your Sea Legs with an Affordable Boating Retirement.

“Plenty of everyday people are choosing to live on the water full-time in their retirement,” said editor Jason Holland, author of the publication’s new report.

According to Holland, “This lifestyle can be more affordable than most folks assume, allowing them to live on the water for less than it would cost to stay home. For under $100,000, you can buy a well-equipped used sailboat around 40 feet in length, plenty of room for two people.” (Prices quoted are in U.S. dollars.)

As the report explains, living costs for a couple can be as little as $1,000 to $1,500 a month, including marina fees (at a full-service marina facility that typically includes water, power, wifi and other amenities). These fees are usually based on the length of the boat and generally run from $150 to $600 per month, depending on location. Marinas in Asia and Latin America tend to cost less, those in Europe more.

U.S. expats Carol and Kent Witt have anchored throughout the Mediterranean. “We once anchored off Capo Palinuro, south of Italy’s Amalfi Coast,” said Carol Witt. “The water there is perfect for swimming and snorkeling, two of our favourite pastimes. On the cliff overlooking our anchorage was a hotel that charges $342 a night. Guests have to walk down a rickety network of several hundred steps to reach the cove that serves as the resort’s beach. At night we went ashore and enjoyed the fancy hotel’s sunset views and ambience for the price of a cocktail.”

Another devotee of the lifestyle, Gary Pierce knew nothing about sailing. “But that wasn’t going to stop me,” he said. “My wife Julie and I prepared, taking the baby-steps approach to sailboat life. I read everything I could get my hands on about sailing and cruising. We started taking sailing lessons in Kemah, Tex., 90 miles from our home.”

The Caribbean offers a well-established boating infrastructure, says Holland, as well as plenty of deserted islands to explore. “Right now, I’m looking at turquoise, clear waters in all directions,” said expat Tina Dreffin, 58. “The sky is always blue, and the weather is warm year-round. And we catch dinner off the back of the boat.” She, along with her husband, Peter, 63, lives aboard the couple’s catamaran, Freebird, in the Central Exumas of the Bahamas.

Besides the Bahamas, other top spots in the region include Placencia, Belize; Roatan, Honduras; the Bocas del Toro archipelago of Panama; the British Virgin Islands; and the island of Antigua.

For more information visit

Empty nesters wooed for Nova Scotia project

A new Nova Scotia housing project was in the spotlight in July as members of the Canadian Institute of Planners got a chance to hear about its major conservation programs.

The Villages of Seven Lakes is billed as the largest conservation community in Atlantic Canada. Seven Lakes president Gail Penney had a chance to discuss the project as a speaker at the Canadian Institute of Planners conference in Fredericton, NB in July.

Penney told the planners that more homebuyers want to live in conservation-oriented neighbourhoods.

"This is a truly special development in that it's a conservation-designed neighbourhood, meaning 60 per cent of the natural landscape is preserved,” said Penney. “Our focus is on developing a complete community in Porters Lake, one that enhances the quality of life for its residents.

Plans are to build 634 homes over the next 10 years. Seven Lakes will create six neighbourhoods or “villages” with a diverse range of housing, including single-detached homes, multi-unit buildings and townhouses.

Prices for homes are under $300,000. Home layouts are designed to appeal to people at all different stages of life, the developers point out, including young families, seniors and empty nesters.

Porters Lake is located approximately 30 kilometres east of Halifax.

Low-impact design approaches include:

• 60 per cent of the natural landscape protected in common open space, with natural amenities such as trails, lakes and parks

• wildlife habitat protection through the interconnection of natural areas

• detailed groundwater monitoring

• a state-of-the-art sewage treatment facility that treats wastewater and returns it to the ground using a subsurface drop irrigation system to help with groundwater recharge

• wetland restoration

• standard home design including provision for solar connections, with homes situated on lots to maximize passive solar energy

• energy saving options including R2000 construction, heat pumps and rain barrels

• homes with low-flow plumbing fixtures and waste-water heat recovery.

For more information, visit


New Georgian Bay dementia home opens

A state-of-the-art 52-bed facility using the latest techniques in the care and treatment of victims of dementia officially opened in Penetanguishene, Ont. on Aug. 1.

The new unit at the Georgian Bay Retirement Home was developed in consultation with Dr. Sandra Black, a senior scientist and leader in dementia research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. The unit has been called The Dr. Sandra Black Centre for Memory Care.

"We believe our facility is ground-breaking," said administrator Debi Vance. "There are few, if any, models like it in Canada or the U.S.”

"The unit features a retro fifties and sixties design and offers a grocery store, barber shop, coffee shop, beach, putting green, bowling and movies.

The new Black centre is a variation of a pioneering program known as Hogewey, established in Weesp, The Netherlands in 2010.

Hogewey uses "reminiscence therapy" in a model village as opposed to traditional nursing-home care, keeping residents more active mentally and physically and reducing use of medication.

Penetanguishene is located on Georgian Bay 150 kilometres north of Toronto.


Amica offers money-back guarantee

The Amica Mature Lifestyles 90-Day Money Back Guarantee for new leases will be extended.

The guarantee is available for all new permanent leases in any of Amica’s 24 communities across Canada. It applies to independent-living or assisted-living iving floors depending on usual pre-qualifications.

The satisfaction-guaranteed promise was launched in June. Michael Hayward, Amica’s vice president of marketing and communications, told FYI, “At this point we are having good success with the offer so we have not set an expiration date. And, as our competitors have not had the confidence to match the offer, we see it as continuing to set us apart in the Independent Living marketplace.”

For more information, visit


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