Elderhouse “Putting Life into Years… not Years into Life.”
COVID-19 has uncovered shameful truths about older seniors’ housing and long term care. It exposed the dangers of housing masses and large facilities. The Jack Long Foundation (JLF) is dedicated to creating a new way for seniors; we begin with calling them “Elders”; “seniors” has evolved negatively. JLF developed a model for “age-in-place” housing that focuses on life and living safely, with dignity, and as active community contributors; bluntly put…not a place to await dying. Elderhouse smaller, more manageable and personal; it that honours residents as active participants, not invalids. It fits on any single family housing street and integrates with its neighbours.
Our present system represents expedience over understanding; dependence not assistance; and separation not inclusion. It treats ageing as an illness. We see the results of large facilities resembling nursing homes, with large staff moving between facilities, shared rooms or washrooms, out-sourced meals, and less ability to separate or quarantine when needed. Risk management is all that can be done, even when providers do their best. Elders commonly call this being ware-housed. Another option is needed; a higher bar set. We must move from operation centred service to person-centred service.
JLF has worked with elders to find a better way… who knows better? It’s time to:
Consider people, and lives first.
Accept ageing as a phase of living recognizing its wealth of knowledge and experience
Train staff to focus on people not systems.
Give our elders the respect we expect.
Elderhouse’s simple shift in values will give us all the benefit of the knowledge, experience and talents of 15% of Canada’s population.
The good news? Elderhouse is shovel ready! JLF has development and building permits. The City of Calgary provided land at a fraction of the cost and pre-development grants (Approximately $900,000.) The Federal National Housing Program has conditionally pledged $1.2 million in funding; and The Calgary Foundation gifted us the cost of hiring Vitreo Group to help us through the remainder of our capital campaign. More recently a couple of well known Calgary philanthropists have pledged $75,000 to the cause. We also look forward to Alberta Health Services Designated Supportive Living program, which was approved in Budget 2020. Did we mention shovel-ready? We are now ready for final construction plans and that is what we are asking you to support.
Who Will it Benefit?
Someone’s grandma, grandpa, mum, dad, friend, sibling…maybe someone you know! Primarily Elderhouse will be the first model of age-in-place housing, as such will directly benefit Inglewood & Ramsay Elders; while not exclusive to those two communities, it gives priority to approximately 200+ Elders in subsidized housing and even more living in their family home.
Why Inglewood and Ramsay?
Because Elderhouse originate with Inglewood’s request for affordable supported living for their Elders now living in subsidized housing. However a rapidly ageing population extends beyond one community across the province and country. The need to change elder care needs no explanation during the COVID era.
The far reaching effects of Elderhouse are in its duplication; JLF is developing the model, and can duplicate or assist others in duplication it in other single family communities. The immediate housing of 17-23 elders grows exponentially with duplication. JLF is committed to building capacity in the supportive living housing market from a highly under-served and vulnerable sector of our population.