Housing Digest: Innovation rewarded at Georgian Village
Georgian Village, with a continuum of housing options for all stages of later life, has been recognized for its innovative approaches to cost-effectiveness and efficiency.
In August, the Penetanguishene community, launched in November 2013, received the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s Peter J. Marshall Award. The award showcases municipal projects that generate effectiveness through alternative service delivery initiatives and partnerships.
“Georgian Village represents the future of seniors care in our province and demonstrates (Simcoe) County Council’s commitment to offering our residents world-class services, while maintaining strong fiscal responsibility,” says Warden Cal Patterson.
Some of the project highlights included in the award submission were LEED energy efficiency design elements, five housing options to create self-sustainability, a variety of community-based outreach programs and services, and public- and private-sector partnerships.
The age-in-place campus offers independent-living garden homes and suites, affordable housing units, assisted living and a long-term-care facility.
Since opening a year ago, it has continued to expand its services and facilities, in recent months opening a hearing clinic, hair and esthetics salon, fitness centre and library. Still to come are a woodworking shop, golf greens, bocce and shuffleboard courts and a therapeutic pool.
Escalating numbers create need for aboriginal senior housing
With Brantford’s aging aboriginal population increasing dramatically, efforts to provide appropriate housing options are escalating.
According to a 2011 national housing survey, the community’s native population, pegged at just over 11,000, had risen by more than 7,000 from the 3,600 identified in 2006.
In addition, says Sherry Lewis, community programs manager for Brantford Native Housing, “early onset aging” in that population, qualifying members as seniors at age 50, is creating an urgent need for housing.
Brantford Native Housing began to address this need three years ago, opening a 17-unit apartment building to supplement rental units scattered throughout the city. It has recently purchased 17 townhouses, about a dozen of which have been retrofitted to be more accessible with such items as bathtub bars, lower countertops and larger bathrooms to accommodate wheelchairs.
However Brantford does not have a nursing home dedicated to native seniors.
“We have tried to make the case for a long-term-care facility for aboriginal people in town, but the numbers just weren’t where the government wanted to see them,” Lewis says. This is despite the city’s location, adjacent to the country’s largest population of First Nations people on Six Nations of the Grand River.
There may be good news in a recent federal-government commitment of $20-million for aboriginal housing in Ontario.
Denmark’s first Rainbow home opens
Denmark has established nursing homes specifically targeting food enthusiasts and animal and nature lovers. Last year, a home for non-ethnic Danes was established. Now, the country is opening its first home for the senior LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transexual and Intersexed) population.
The regnbueplejehjem (rainbow elderly home) in Copenhagen, the country’s capital, is being funded by the city’s Health and Care Committee to the tune of 370,000 kroner (about $69,000 CAD), according to the Politiken newspaper.
“It is important that we have a diversity in our services for the elderly,” said health and social care Mayor Ninna Thomsen. “I have been in dialogue with the LGBT Denmark among others, who pointed out that it can be difficult to be older and gay in the usual nursing home.”
The most important aspect is that individuals can stay in a community where they are allowed to nurture their different needs and interests, she added.
Ivan Hemmingsen, spokesperson for LGBT Denmark, told Politiken, “We are a group that is viewed as doing well in Denmark today, but there is still a marginalization of LGBT people in some areas, and it’s important to have the opportunity to be in a secure fellowship with people who are positively inclined about you.”