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In performing our market research studies, we realized that senior housing is needs based.

At the extreme end of the needs spectrum are those seniors who need ongoing care and who can no longer live safely on their own without adequate support.  This need usually arises because of an “event” such as a fall, when the person is admitted to hospital and, when ready to leave, discharge staff recommend that the person can no longer live safely at home alone, and another setting has to be chosen.

Although convalescent care may get that person back on their feet, going back to their home without any support may not be a good outcome.

Two main issues arise for seniors.

Increasing frailty as we age is the main cause for concern.

Brought on by various conditions, such as  heart disease and stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, vision and hearing deterioration, arthritis, diabetes, incontinence and others, the effect of these result in disabilities or difficulties with daily living activities, or in a physical, mental condition or health problem that reduces the kind or amount of activities a person could do.

The loss of a spouse or significant other is the second big concern.

Because of differing life expectancies between men and women, the main “support” that we have at home - our spouse, may not be there to allow us to live in our present home.  And, in our Canadian lifestyles, our children, both of whom typically work and may have children to look after, are not a good alternative for ongoing support.  In addition, the job of care giving may be beyond either the spouse or family to provide.

As big a concern, albeit not one that requires the immediate action a care issue does, is the need of the predominantly elderly female who has lost her spouse, for social interaction, good nutrition and occasional housekeeping support to maintain a healthy, stimulating life.

In our surveys of senior housing needs in Ontario, the actual usage of services in both Independent Supportive Living and Assisted Living residences is set out below.  Expressed as a % age of all homes’ residents from most used to least, it shows what the seniors market values and reflects the wants and needs of seniors:



Resident Usage

Meal Services 100.0%
Emergency Response 95.8%
Weekly Housekeeping 92.3%
Social Programming 91.0%
Laundry Services 82.1%
Medications 70.2%
Bathing Assistance 53.2%
Daily Housekeeping 42.6%
Hygiene Assistance 28.5%
Dressing Assistance 26.6%
Special Diets 23.0%
Personal Nursing Care 22.7%
Mobility Assistance 22.0%
Incontinence Assistance 16.5%
Oxygen Therapy 7.8%
Feeding Assistance 7.1%


While most homes offer a full complement of services, the percentage of residents using the services varies. The usage profile by residents reflects both admission criteria and the more independent, or less frail nature of the retirement home resident.

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