A housing option with community appeal

Affordable and non-profit, Abbeyfield Houses Society of Canada offers a unique solution to the downsizing dilemma – sort of a frat house for seniors, den mother included.

A typical home has between 10 and 14 residents, each with a separate room and many with an ensuite bath which residents can furnish with their own things. The rest of the house is a communal living area for social interaction, meals and visits by friends and relatives.

The live-in House Manager, who attends to the daily running of the House, does the shopping and prepares lunch and dinner and is provided with a separate, self-contained apartment. She is the key figure in the success of the Abbeyfield House by making it happy and homey. The House Manager is not a nurse; but will facilitate support for any resident who may periodically become ill or disabled with such things as medication reminders. She will also assist in linking the resident with local support services for seniors. Residents lead independent lives. The top benefit to this arrangement is the sense of community. “It’s very, very much like a family,” says Bob McMullan, executive director of Abbeyfield Canada.

McMullan says t average age of an Abbeyfield resident in Canada is 86 “and growing.” There are even a few in their triple-digits.

In terms of criteria for admission, age and loneliness are the prime considerations, together with level of health and compatibility with other residents. Residents must be relatively fit, mentally alert, able to manage daily living tasks and function socially. Abbeysfield is not a nursing home environment.

Founded in England in 1956 and named for the street where the first volunteers met, the Abbeyfield movement spread to Canada in 1984, with 27 operating houses across the country and another six under construction. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation assisted in enabling Abbeyfield to establish Houses in Canada. The early Houses were funded under Federal/Provincial Programs, and now CMHC Mortgage Guarantees allow Societies to obtain commercial loans at favourable rates.

For more information, visit the website below or call 416-920-7483.

With files from 50Plus.com