Need for planning highlights housing summit

News Apr 27, 2016 by Brian Shypula Brant News

There isn’t enough variety in seniors and age-friendly housing in Brant, and in particular there’s a shortage of mid-range condos in Brantford.

The complaints were raised at the latest in the eight-part summit series aimed at making Brant an age-friendly community, held on Friday at the Brantford and District Civic Centre.

About 85 people attended the meeting, which followed the familiar format of breaking into groups to identify issues and brainstorm ideas.

Addressing the shortage of age-friendly housing, Michelle Connor’s table came up with the idea of a 10 per cent minimum quota for accessible homes in new neighbourhoods.

The group disagreed with the idea seniors-only communities, said Connor, Brantford’s community development co-ordinator.

They also raised questions about what rules and bylaws may exist around renting one’s home to someone who could help the owner stay in the home.

“Maybe some of the schools being closed could be converted into seniors housing or seniors activity centres,” said Jean Kincade, a board member with the Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA).

GRCOA president Lucy Marco said the housing issue isn’t solely about seniors, it’s about anybody who has experienced a life-changing moment, such as a car accident, that necessitates a change in housing needs.

“I think what came out of today was the need to plan for the future, no matter what the age,” Marco said, adding that too often she’s seen families react to a crisis versus planning ahead.

Marco’s message on planning resonated with Karen Williamson, one of the regular facilitators at the summit sessions.

“I had honestly not spent five minutes of my own life thinking about aging,” Williamson said to the room.

But she and husband Bruce recently decided to move from Paris to British Columbia to be nearer to their daughter and grandchildren.

“Inevitably we’re going to need that support and want to be closer to them,” Williamson said in saying farewell to the group.

Several speakers raised the need for planners or consultants who could help people with aging-related issues, such as finding suitable housing, downsizing and the time to consider moving.

Financial planners cover the money end of things and there are businesses in niches such as decluttering, but not one that combines a host of aging-related issues together, Marco said. “Who knows, it may be a new career?”

“I think this is going to become more of an issue when the baby boom generation grows older because we’re a rather demanding group of people, we’re used to having things our way,” Williamson said.

GRCOA and Brant MPP Dave Levac are holding eight summits, which mirror the eight pillars of an age-friendly community developed by the World Health Organization, with the intent to make Brantford, Brant County, Six Nations and New Credit an age-friendly community.

The session on housing was the fifth summit.

Each summit looks for issues, opportunities, gaps and suggestions and makes recommendations how they can be implemented by the four local governments within Brant riding.

There are 41,000 people over age 55 living in Brantford and County of Brant but that number is expected to grow to over 59,300 in 15 years. The bubble of senior-age people is expected to strain existing programs and infrastructure.

The next summit on community support and health services is being held on June 17 in Six Nations.

Need for planning highlights housing summit

News Apr 27, 2016 by Brian Shypula Brant News

There isn’t enough variety in seniors and age-friendly housing in Brant, and in particular there’s a shortage of mid-range condos in Brantford.

The complaints were raised at the latest in the eight-part summit series aimed at making Brant an age-friendly community, held on Friday at the Brantford and District Civic Centre.

About 85 people attended the meeting, which followed the familiar format of breaking into groups to identify issues and brainstorm ideas.

Addressing the shortage of age-friendly housing, Michelle Connor’s table came up with the idea of a 10 per cent minimum quota for accessible homes in new neighbourhoods.

The group disagreed with the idea seniors-only communities, said Connor, Brantford’s community development co-ordinator.

They also raised questions about what rules and bylaws may exist around renting one’s home to someone who could help the owner stay in the home.

“Maybe some of the schools being closed could be converted into seniors housing or seniors activity centres,” said Jean Kincade, a board member with the Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA).

GRCOA president Lucy Marco said the housing issue isn’t solely about seniors, it’s about anybody who has experienced a life-changing moment, such as a car accident, that necessitates a change in housing needs.

“I think what came out of today was the need to plan for the future, no matter what the age,” Marco said, adding that too often she’s seen families react to a crisis versus planning ahead.

Marco’s message on planning resonated with Karen Williamson, one of the regular facilitators at the summit sessions.

“I had honestly not spent five minutes of my own life thinking about aging,” Williamson said to the room.

But she and husband Bruce recently decided to move from Paris to British Columbia to be nearer to their daughter and grandchildren.

“Inevitably we’re going to need that support and want to be closer to them,” Williamson said in saying farewell to the group.

Several speakers raised the need for planners or consultants who could help people with aging-related issues, such as finding suitable housing, downsizing and the time to consider moving.

Financial planners cover the money end of things and there are businesses in niches such as decluttering, but not one that combines a host of aging-related issues together, Marco said. “Who knows, it may be a new career?”

“I think this is going to become more of an issue when the baby boom generation grows older because we’re a rather demanding group of people, we’re used to having things our way,” Williamson said.

GRCOA and Brant MPP Dave Levac are holding eight summits, which mirror the eight pillars of an age-friendly community developed by the World Health Organization, with the intent to make Brantford, Brant County, Six Nations and New Credit an age-friendly community.

The session on housing was the fifth summit.

Each summit looks for issues, opportunities, gaps and suggestions and makes recommendations how they can be implemented by the four local governments within Brant riding.

There are 41,000 people over age 55 living in Brantford and County of Brant but that number is expected to grow to over 59,300 in 15 years. The bubble of senior-age people is expected to strain existing programs and infrastructure.

The next summit on community support and health services is being held on June 17 in Six Nations.

Need for planning highlights housing summit

News Apr 27, 2016 by Brian Shypula Brant News

There isn’t enough variety in seniors and age-friendly housing in Brant, and in particular there’s a shortage of mid-range condos in Brantford.

The complaints were raised at the latest in the eight-part summit series aimed at making Brant an age-friendly community, held on Friday at the Brantford and District Civic Centre.

About 85 people attended the meeting, which followed the familiar format of breaking into groups to identify issues and brainstorm ideas.

Addressing the shortage of age-friendly housing, Michelle Connor’s table came up with the idea of a 10 per cent minimum quota for accessible homes in new neighbourhoods.

The group disagreed with the idea seniors-only communities, said Connor, Brantford’s community development co-ordinator.

They also raised questions about what rules and bylaws may exist around renting one’s home to someone who could help the owner stay in the home.

“Maybe some of the schools being closed could be converted into seniors housing or seniors activity centres,” said Jean Kincade, a board member with the Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA).

GRCOA president Lucy Marco said the housing issue isn’t solely about seniors, it’s about anybody who has experienced a life-changing moment, such as a car accident, that necessitates a change in housing needs.

“I think what came out of today was the need to plan for the future, no matter what the age,” Marco said, adding that too often she’s seen families react to a crisis versus planning ahead.

Marco’s message on planning resonated with Karen Williamson, one of the regular facilitators at the summit sessions.

“I had honestly not spent five minutes of my own life thinking about aging,” Williamson said to the room.

But she and husband Bruce recently decided to move from Paris to British Columbia to be nearer to their daughter and grandchildren.

“Inevitably we’re going to need that support and want to be closer to them,” Williamson said in saying farewell to the group.

Several speakers raised the need for planners or consultants who could help people with aging-related issues, such as finding suitable housing, downsizing and the time to consider moving.

Financial planners cover the money end of things and there are businesses in niches such as decluttering, but not one that combines a host of aging-related issues together, Marco said. “Who knows, it may be a new career?”

“I think this is going to become more of an issue when the baby boom generation grows older because we’re a rather demanding group of people, we’re used to having things our way,” Williamson said.

GRCOA and Brant MPP Dave Levac are holding eight summits, which mirror the eight pillars of an age-friendly community developed by the World Health Organization, with the intent to make Brantford, Brant County, Six Nations and New Credit an age-friendly community.

The session on housing was the fifth summit.

Each summit looks for issues, opportunities, gaps and suggestions and makes recommendations how they can be implemented by the four local governments within Brant riding.

There are 41,000 people over age 55 living in Brantford and County of Brant but that number is expected to grow to over 59,300 in 15 years. The bubble of senior-age people is expected to strain existing programs and infrastructure.

The next summit on community support and health services is being held on June 17 in Six Nations.