Options for managing when it all gets too much to handle

By Tanya Comeault

The Parkway suites are built for convenience and even luxury

There’s a family in town that is in the enviable position of being able to build a very large home with one wing especially designed for when they get too old to cope with the day to day chores of running a household. Unfortunately, not many of us have this luxury, but most of us face the inevitable fact that, some day, we may not be able to manage a large home and garden.

When that happens, one option is a retirement community. Retirement communities have special facilities catering to the needs and wants of retirees. Help is there, if you need it, with housekeeping and even meal preparation can be provided. There are often waiting lists of several months, though, so it pays to plan ahead.

“When residents are coming from a place they have been in for 45 years, it can be tough,” says Karen Wosnitza, Administrator of The Parkway Retirement Community. “But then they come here and end up sitting down to dinner with someone they went to school with.  Once they’re here, many are rejuvenated now that they are with their peers.”

The goal of retirement communities such as the Parkway is to take care of residents physically, mentally and emotionally, she says. This particular company provides services that seem equal to those of a resort or a cruise. In addition to weekly housekeeping services, they serve continental breakfasts and dinners cooked by red-seal chefs. There are excursions around town. There is a multi-purpose room and entertainment lounge, an in-house library, and exercise and games rooms.  A café, a tuck shop, and a theatre are on site and there are four beautiful sunrooms on each floor.  The retirement experience is rounded off with visiting personal services such as home care, foot care, blood technicians, pharmacist and speakers on such topics as talking with your doctor, diabetes and heart and stroke care.

Residents currently range in age from 57 to 94. Some residents are still working and others volunteer around the community.  “We currently have about 35 people on the wait list,” continues Karen, “which is about six to eight month long, so it’s always a good idea to plan ahead.” The Parkway is Karen’s third building, and she absolutely loves it.  “There is such a friendly, caring atmosphere around here. It has absolutely everything you need.”

The Parway “Seniors” Community

If you are not interested in all the bells and whistles but enjoy the safety and security of knowing everyone around you, The Parkway also offers independent living suites ranging between $1,100 to $1,600 per month.  And there is a new building in the future.  “Phase II of The Parkway is set to open in the summer of 2012,” says Karen, “The suites will be bigger than those in Phase I, and this building will also feature its own library, fitness room and common areas.”

Age & Opportunity can also help

In spite of those luxury options, 93% of seniors are living in their own homes or apartments in the general community. And some prefer it that way.

If you want to stay in your own home for as long as possible, services such as The Manitoba Home Care Program are available.  Home Care is a community-based program that provides home support to individuals, regardless of age, who require health services or assistance with activities of daily living.

An Independent Living or Retirement residence (Assisted Living), is a seniors living complex which offers various services such as housekeeping, meals, recreation and more. Many of these retirement complexes offer assisted living options which can be added if and when they are needed.  Services vary from place to place, so taking a tour of the different residences may assist in matching needs to those available. If you are looking for a seniors community setting without services, there are also apartment complexes geared to people over 55.

Supportive Housing is the right choice for people who require access to 24-hour supervision and some assistance managing with physical limitations or because of ongoing health conditions such as dementia. Residents receive support with bathing, dressing and medication reminders. More information is available through your local Home Care office.

If safety is becoming an issue or 24-hour nursing care is required, a Personal Care Home (a Nursing Home) has many options available.  They offer private, semi-private and multi-bed rooms in a secure environment with various recreational activities.

Age & Opportunity publishes the Winnipeg Seniors Housing Directory containing information on housing for seniors in the city of Winnipeg.  The Directory includes Independent Living, Life Leasing, Assisted Living, Companion Care, Supportive Housing, Intermediate Personal Care Homes and Personal Care Homes. For more information, visit www.AgeOpportunity.mb.ca.

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