As the Baby Boomer generation is aging, and the senior population is growing, the need for senior-friendly housing is on the rise. Josh Crabb of CTV Edmonton reported that currently seniors make up about 15% of Canadian population. By 2036 this number is expected to skyrocket to nearly 24% (CMHC, “2011 Canadian Housing Observer”). Its been noted that a large portion of seniors prefer giving up their family homes in favour of condo living for its convenience, but much consideration and weighting of pros and cons should be done before opting in for a condo lifestyle.
Pros and Cons of Condo Living for Seniors
Condo living is attractive to seniors due to perceived convenience and ease of maintenance. In fact, many seniors choose to sell family homes and relocate to condos before they reach the age, when such a move becomes very difficult. Despite a wide variety of retirement homes, home care facilities and other times of senior housing readily available across all Canadian provinces, independent condo living is something a staggering number of seniors opt in for.
The CMHC report says that condominium projects accounted for one third of housing start-ups in Canadian cities in 2010 and thats up from 29 percent in 2009. Its been predicted that the rapidly aging population will translate into a growing demand for smaller homes.
The CMHC report further estimates that as the population ages across the country, its needs are changing, thus even smaller communities will need proper facilities to accommodate seniors with disabilities and other medical conditions.
While both large cities and smaller towns hold appeal for seniors, its small communities where shopping and social amenities are more convenient and easily accessible; they are expected to be largely affected by the aging population. This is why smaller urban centers will need to become more senior-friendly, and urban planners will have to take their needs into consideration.
Still, Canadas largest cities have a multitude of retirement homes, assisted living facilities, home care options, as well as senior housing communities already available, and the cost of living there is often more affordable. In addition, city living translates into a wider range of social activities, community groups and entertainment to choose from.
The despite the general trend for condo and assisted living, the CMHC also projects a lot of activity in the home renovations market. Seniors who choose to remain in their family homes will often choose to undertake serious renovations projects in order to make their living space more convenient and easily accessible. Among other adjustments, seniors are becoming proactive by installing ramps and elevators, widening doorways to fit wheelchairs, upgrading bathrooms to include grab bars and senior-friendly bathtubs. Some seniors who live with adult children go as far as adding suite extensions to their homes.
The aging of Canadian population means that there is an increasing need to accommodate the needs and requirements of Canadian seniors both in areas of housing and urban planning.