One of the most daunting decisions we face as we age is where we want to reside when we require a little more assistance with daily tasks and can no longer manage living in our own independent dwelling.
Heart River Housing (HRH) provides many options for seniors who want or need to make a transition from their own homes. HRH chief administrative officer Lindsay Pratt says it’s important to ensure that each apartment available to seniors is comfortable and can be made into a new home.
“We try to remember that a lot of these people are leaving homes they’ve lived in for upwards of 40 years,” says Pratt, explaining he helped his own parents transition into a seniors’ residence, and it has compelled him to be more aware of what people require and want in a home.
“This is their home, not an institution. We want to make it comfortable, affordable and as senior-friendly as possible.”
Each senior wants or needs a different level of transition from having an independent house as they age.
HRH housing offers multiple levels of options for people who want to transition out of their own homes. There are senior self-contained apartments, that are for independent seniors requiring no support.
“Our apartment rent is 30 per cent of the person’s income, up to a maximum rent of $650 in most communities,” says Pratt.
“Water, sewer and gas is included in the rent. Power is charged over and above the rent.”
HRH has seniors’ apartments in Fox Creek, Valleyview, Girouxville, Falher, Donnelly, McLennan, High Prairie, Faust and Kinuso. All seniors’ apartments include a full-sized kitchen.
Very recently, HRH added enhanced lodge apartments to their list of residences. These are very similar to the seniors’ apartments but are attached to a lodge.
“This type of suite is only available in High Prairie at this time, but we are building 20 units in Falher starting in the spring of 2023,” he says.
“HRH anticipates Valleyview requiring the same type of addition to their lodge. The suites are targeted to independent seniors that may require some support now or will require that support in the near future.”
Residents in the enhanced lodge apartments pay a flat rent of $1,075 for one-bedroom units and $1,375 for two-bedroom units. Each apartment includes a full kitchen and a washer and dryer combination in each suite.
“The great thing about the enhanced lodge apartments is that as residents require more assistance, they can add full lodge services for an extra cost of $950 per month,” explains Pratt.
“This is helpful for a senior who may want more assistance with cleaning their home, cooking their meals, or doing their laundry, but are not fully ready to move to a lodge,” he adds.
Finally, HRH also offers lodge living with a 52-suite unit in High Prairie, a 69-suite unit in Falher and 50 suites in Valleyview.
“Lodge suites are for independent seniors that require some services,” explains Pratt.
“The average rent is $1,275 for low-income seniors and all units are bachelor suites with full bathroom facilities in their home.”
Included in the lodge rent are all meals, room cleaning once a week, activities in the common area, and Level 2 Home Care is provided by Alberta Health Services.
Pratt says one of the main concerns HRH has is to ensure housing is kept affordable for anyone who should require a place to live. He says some of HRH’s facilities are owned by the Province, some by HRH, but all facilities are open to the general public.
“As the costs of living increase every year, most seniors cannot afford to stay in their own homes and they may not have family support available close to them,” he explains.
“HRH wants to make sure we can provide safe, affordable housing to our seniors. In most cases in our smaller communities, we are the only option available.”
Pratt explains most seniors want to stay within the communities they’ve lived all their lives as they age. HRH is continually doing studies on how many dwellings will be required to provide the same level of service for decades to come.
“These buildings are not institutions, they are people’s homes, we have many residents that have moved into our appointments in their late sixties and stayed into their eighties,” Pratt explains, saying that HRH aims to ensure future seniors will have a home waiting for them when they need it.
Pratt says there are many expenses that seniors will still be responsible for once they’ve moved into one of the many facilities HRH offers. He explains any of the normal day-to-day expenses like hygiene products, medical expenses, vehicle or insurances will still be an expense the resident is responsible for.
He adds that residents will also be responsible for any entertainment add-ons they want, such as internet, TV or phone.
Seniors’ apartments fall under provincially-owned homes, so the deficit is funded by the province. HRH lodges are supported by requisition from 11 municipalities in the region, and enhanced facilities are self-sustaining and require no deficit funding.
Pratt explains that HRH aims to ensure that all seniors in the region, regardless of their income, are able to have a safe, warm, beautiful place to live. He adds he and his team want to help seniors make the best choice for them, when they are ready to transition into an apartment setting.
If you want additional information about the services provided at each of the different types of facilities, or you would like to apply for a housing unit, please call Heart River Housing at (780) 523-5282.