Dying with Dignity – An examination of the ongoing search for affordable housing options for local seniors to live out their retirement
The Yold decade has officially arrived, as 51% of Canadians are now seniors. This phenomena is particularly true if you are a resident of Caledon where nearly 60% of the domestic population is 55 years of age or older. Half of this aforementioned population live in a rural domicile, which tend to be a significant distance from the closest hamlet, village or town. This unavoidably raises the question of where this plethora of deserving individuals would be better equipped to live out their days.
A major aspect of this conversation deals with providing our rapidly aging population with the opportunity to dying with dignity. This seemingly inalienable right has long been hardwired into the Canadian psyche, and yet somehow it has become more of a hopeful possibility, due to the various limitations that prevent individuals from securing suitable care for their loved ones. Both full-time and part-time care and living arrangements tend to be rather expensive, which is a direct result of the scarcity of senior housing available.
Given the depth of Caledon’s strategic senior plan, combined with the prevailing political NIMBY mindset, local Baby Boomers should inevitably discover that moving to such exotic locations as Kirkland Lake, Sudbury, Dunnville or Port Colborne, where there is abundant available housing, are one of the few affordable alternatives. This presents various hardships for senior citizens, as these hamlets are infinite miles from family, friends, physicians, first class hospitals, and also lack ambience and culture.
This is simply an inadequate option for senior citizens, and the inevitable necessity for part-time or full-time care at a certain age should be made more attainable. That being said, most small towns in Ontario, which are equipped to accommodate a plethora of seniors, are already hard-pressed to find sufficiently trained individuals to staff the already crowded senior residences and small hospitals.
Realistically, Since the “No Vacancy” sign is already flashing in bold red, planning for the future has by default become an immediate necessity. The Headwaters region can and must maximize their efforts to facilitate the downsizing of long-term residents and their homes. Headwaters Hospital has earned an enviable reputation for their incredible work. As such, North Peel Region and Southern Dufferin have been presented with a golden opportunity to create hundreds of value added jobs, by implementing complimentary zoning guidelines promoting various levels of senior housing.
Time is of the essence, so take any opportunity to engage your local representative in a constructive conversation about possible types of senior housing. Encourage clearer communication and greater transparency about the full development process; it is your right to be aware and also to be heard.
History repeatedly shows that thinking and acting unconventionally often results in affirmative civic action and the strengthening of communities. To Paraphrase author and activist Jane Jacobs, she outlined in her book The Death and Life of American Cities, that bold first steps create the foundations of future great cities (1961). We owe a promising future to our local senior citizens.
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