In 2010, I accepted an appointment as a member of the Calgary Mount Royal University Advisory Committee for the Study of Aging In Place. I recently attended our committee meeting this month and was thoroughly inspired by the guest speakers and the discussion that took place involving re-defining the way in which we support our community and the aging demographic. Let’s face it – the reality is we are all a part of that population just at different stages!

Mount Royal University offers an online Studies in Aging Certificate. As Marianne Rogerson, the program’s Coordinator points out, “It’s a holistic program where we look at the physical, social, psychological, and spiritual aspects of aging. Because we have an aging population, almost every career out there has older adults as part of their Client base.” 

Pinnacle Group became involved in this committee to provide insight into how this concept of Aging In Place impacts our industry and the way we service our Clients. We were also interested in learning fresh perspectives that can allow us to thoroughly support this demographic. We understand that a Client who is 55 or 65 has different home transformation requirements then someone who is 35 and we take this into consideration when providing viable solutions for our varied Clients.  As well, for many of our Clients they are choosing to Renovate for the purpose of creating spaces that can support their family’s needs for today and as these continue to change in the future; creating a home that they can truly utilize for a lifetime of living. Integral to the Pinnacle process right from the beginning is determining our Client families’ long term goals and requirements for how their home will accommodate every family members’ changing needs; even those that don’t primarily live in the home but often visit. We want the spaces to be so well thought out that we really are Creating Homes For Life™; a home that can evolve with a family’s life stages. We proactively consider the future not only in terms of the quality of building products we use but also in how we can incorporate anticipated needs in the design today.   

At this most recent meeting, on invite, Laura Parsons from BMO attended to provide some insight into the financial industry and how they are actively providing solutions to help their Customers age gracefully with financial portfolios designed to support their ongoing needs.

As well, we discussed the exciting news that after an incredible amount of research and input from international experts, in March 2013, Mount Royal University (MRU) will be launching their pilot program consisting of 3 30 minute webinars regarding successful housing. They are also planning to implement a Successful Housing Certification program with Level 1 & 2 Apprenticeship and Level 3 Masters certification. As a Builder/Renovator, we are very excited about MRU providing this certification to support the aging population.  

In addition, we had some of Calgary’s care providers present their current challenges. Just 7 years ago the average age of people entering care facilities was in the high 70’s; this has now transitioned to the high 80’s. The good news is people are learning to live in their home longer but the challenge is their care escalates much quicker in this age range, sometimes requiring an increase in care from level  1 to level 4, in just a few months. A new perspective on how care is effectively provided given this recent trend is needed.  

Marianne Rogerson who facilitates the committee and writes the curriculum for the MRU program, in the last quarter conducted focus groups with home care centres specific to dementia care. She will be submitting her important findings to the CHBA very soon.

She also reported that CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) are looking for resources as one of their biggest concerns they are facing is they don’t have contractors and designers that understand their needs and accessibility challenges. I will personally be working with them to help address their concerns and provide them with viable solutions. We will also be working with Marianne Rogerson to give feedback on a 5 step model for an Aging in Place assessment tool that she has recently developed which will become an incredible resource for us to use as well.

We are looking forward to continuing to learn and provide our industry insight in the creation of important Aging In Place initiatives in Calgary.

The first quarter of 2012, has already provided our Clients with some incredible and informative events! January we participated in the Calgary Home Show, February we brought you our Creating Homes For Life Seminar, and this weekend we will be showcasing a brand new estate home project at our Custom Home Tour on Saturday March 17th, 2012 from 10am – 4pm.

We were extremely pleased with the turnout at our recent Creating Homes For Life Seminar. It was a great success and brought together a fine team of Calgary’s experts in Design, Home Building and Finance; providing our guests with a jam packed session full of food for thought!

Although the seminar was of interest to anyone looking to Renovate or Custom Home Build, we did spend a significant amount of time focussing on Aging In Place initiatives. 

Marianne Rogerson, Assistant Professor & Program Coordinator, for the Studies In Aging Certificate Program at Mount Royal University, kicked off the event with an incredibly informative and positive overview of Aging In Place. She encouraged us to look at other cultures in the world and how they successfully integrate their changing lifestyle requirements within the context of their homes and the community that then supports them.

Kathy Yuen, President of Phase One Design, provided an in-depth analysis of the steps involved in the Design Process when it comes to Renovating or Custom Home Building. As well, she addressed ways in which we can all be proactive in the Design Phase to incorporate future Aging In Place needs. It is amazing how much can be incorporated today for tomorrow’s needs!

Paul Klassen, Owner & CEO of Pinnacle Group, alongside a fabulously astute Pinnacle Client, provided a thorough, real life Renovation Case Study, from the perspective of the Client; they discussed what one should expect from the Renovation experience. With her candid approach, it was evident that Jacqueline successfully engaged the audience and taught us all how a home can be built to accommodate family members from the age of 2 - 92. She discussed how integral it was for the Builder to understand the needs of each family member to ensure the outcome of her Renovation was a success.

Patricia Virk, Mortgage Specialist for BMO & Ian Playfair, Wealth Advisor for BMO Nesbitt Burns provided an array of innovative mortgage solutions and investment options that are available to those looking to Renovate or Custom Home Build. I think we were all impressed with the  financial solutions that are available for Homeowners that can benefit both their short term and long term financial goals.

The speaker panel were available after the seminar to answer one on one questions attendees had about their specific home needs. 

Along with an incredible continental breakfast served to attendees by the always friendly Whitecappers staff, guests were treated to an amazing home-made lunch catered by a local Strathmore company – Kim’s Katering. Nobody left with an empty stomach or an empty mind full of fabulous information on Renovating, Custom Home Building and Aging In Place initiatives!

We look forward to bringing this Seminar to other communities in and around Calgary and plans are in place for another Seminar on May 10th, 2012. We encourage you to visit the Creating Homes For Life website for upcoming information. As well, we will be posting extensive video footage of the presentations on our blog in the coming weeks.

If you are interested in attending future Seminars like this, feel free to contact us at or give us a call at 403-720-8789, and we will make sure to put you on our notification list!

With the Creating Homes For Life Seminar  just around the corner – this Saturday February 25th from 9am -12pm at the Chestermere Recreation Centre - we thought we would bring you an article featured in the Chestemere Anchor that one of our esteemed colleagues wrote in regards to the topic at hand – Aging In Place. Patricia Virk, Mortgage Specialist with BMO, provided an interesting perspective on the value of providing seniors with Aging In Place solutions.   

For local seniors who are concerned about how long they will be able to remain living comfortably in their own homes, or for those who might want more information for relatives in these situations, an “Aging in Place” seminar will be hosted in Chestermere at the end of the month.

Beautiful Chestermere Sunset

BMO Mortgage Specialist and local resident Patricia Virk, said that it is beneficial that this seminar is making a stop in Chestermere. “Over the past few years I have witnessed several families sending their aging parents to Calgary to move to an assisted living facility,” she said. “They have to downsize out of Chestermere due to the lack of senior friendly homes,  their health deteriorating, to be close to medical facilities, because they have lost a spouse or just because of their desire to downsize.”

“Either way, our seniors are moving out of Chestermere because their homes are no longer suited to their physical needs, or they need assistance that they just cannot find here.”

Virk said that because a medical centre is on the way, Chestermere seniors will hopefully find it easier to meet their medical needs while maintaining their residence in the community.

“So that leaves the question of housing,” she said. “For many baby boomers, we have seen them tear down homes and build a new home which is more suited to their needs either on the same lot or in the same neighborhood.”

“We have also seen homes all over Chestermere being customized and renovated. These are excellent options to keep our seniors in our community and continue to Age in Place.”

Virk has collaborated with Marianne Rogerson, Chair of Studies in Aging at Mount Royal University, Renovator/Builder Paul Klassen of Pinnacle Group and Kathy Yuen, Architect and Owner of Phase One Design to put together a seminar to provide information to local seniors about how to  Age in Place  in Chestermere.

It will be hosted by the Whitecappers on Feb. 25th from 9 a.m. until noon. The seminar is open to anyone looking to renovate their home or to build a new one, and covers everything from the building process  to “aging in place” renovation ideas to help keep seniors in their current homes.

“Keeping our elders close by ensures our future generations lives are enriched by having their grandparents as an active part of their lives,” Virk said. “To my generation it often means more than having an emergency babysitter for the kids or a short drive if Mom and Dad need some help shovelling the walk;  it means having their guidance and wisdom close by; having a family dinner more often than just on holidays, and ensuring future generations are enriched by their stories and experiences.”

“There is no need to have to move away from family and neighbours they have known for years, as a few custom renovations can allow seniors to age gracefully in Chestermere, where they have lived and flourished for years.”

For more information on the seminar visit: and RSVP for the event!


Many of us who have lived in the same home for a good portion of our lives at one point or another find ourselves at a crossroads questioning whether we should renovate or make a move and start new.

Have you found yourself  pondering lately how quickly the years have flown by and why what seemed like it was just the latest decorating trend now seems so out of date? Perhaps it is the floor plan that no longer seems to make sense (or perhaps never did!) or simply no longer fits your family’s current lifestyle needs? Maybe you are thinking it is time to downsize? Do you have a long wish list of desires generated from visiting a friend’s new home or a show home, watching a home makeover show or flipping through your favourite home magazine that all together represents your dream home?

Whatever the case may be that has left you questioning the need for a change, each scenario brings with it a set of complicating variables. Purchasing a new home could mean leaving your current home that holds sentimental value filled with years of fond memories; leaving the beauty of an established neighborhood; letting go of the perfect lot (they just don’t make ‘em like they used to!); or saying goodbye to close neighbours or community amenities that you enjoy. On the other hand, the thought of surviving a harrowing renovation project in which disaster stories abound, may not seem appealing either?

If a renovation seems like the preferred choice, there are many ways in which you can avoid the common pitfalls, arming yourself with the right information so you can create a renovation plan that fits your family just right.

A great place to start is the Creating Homes For Life Seminar , less than two weeks away! Alongside Pinnacle Group, our colleagues from BMO, BMO Nesbitt Burns, Phase One Design and Mount Royal’s Studies In Aging Program will also be presenting.  This event will be filled with jam packed information for those of you at this crossroads, wondering exactly what is the best solution for your aged home.

One of the topics covered in this seminar will be Aging In Place. For the baby boomer generation in particular, it makes sense that future lifestyle requirements are taken into consideration when renovating or custom building a home to ensure the homeowners can live in their home for as long as possible. This could mean building wider doorways, lower riser heights on stairs, ‘0’ threshold heights, curbless showers or stairway lift rough-ins. For some people only small changes are required in their home to accomodate Aging in Place. 

One of Pinnacle Group’s valued clients has graciously agreed to participate in this seminar and share first hand her Pinnacle renovation experience which included incorporating many Aging In Place initatives. If any of you attended our 2011 Fall Reno Tour in Willowpark last year, you will be familiar with the project we will be highlighting in our presentation.

For a great video recap on the scope of this project on our Youtube channel click here:

Pinnacle Group October 2011 Willowpark Reno Tour

If you would like more information on how you can renovate or build your custom dream home without compromising your nest egg, attend the Creating Homes For Life Seminar at the Chestermere Recreation Centre from 9am-12pm on Saturday February 25th, 2012.

For more information and to RSVP for this informative event check out the Creating Homes For Life Website . We look forward to seeing you there!

For those of you that attended our Fall Reno Tour of this residence, we welcome your feedback on our blog as to what you thought of the project!

Plans for the fantastic Creating Homes For Life Seminar on Saturday February 25th, 2011 are well underway! We hope you can join us for this event and find out how you can comfortably live in your home for LIFE!

Calgary’s Top Industry Specialists will show you how you can renovate or build your custom dream home without compromising your nest egg!  As well, this informative event will provide solutions for those of you looking to increase the value of their real estate and investment portfolios and hear exciting options for land and property holdings. Even in this economy your home is still your largest asset; make sure it pays you the greatest return!

Our panel of experts includes:  

Marianne Rogerson, PhD – Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator, Studies in Aging Certificate Program/Mount Royal University

Kathy Yuen, CEO – Architectural Designer/Phase One Design  

Paul Klassen, CEO – Builder – Renovator/Pinnacle Group  

Patricia Virk, Mortgage Specialist/ Bank of Montreal  

Ian Playfair, Wealth Advisor, Financial Planner/BMO Nesbitt Burns

When: Saturday February 25th, 2012

Time: 9:00am-12:00pm

Where: Chestermere Recreation Centre – 201 W Chestermere Drive

RSVP: no later than Monday February 20th, 2012.

Light snacks & refreshments will be served!

Hosted by Chestermere Whitecappers Association.



Aerial Shot Of Chestermere

Plans for some incredible Pinnacle Group events for 2012 are shaping up as our Marketing team continues to create learning opportunities for both our Clients and those thinking of renovating or building a custom home in the near future. It is our mandate to bring valuable, ethical and informative learning materials and events to consumers to help them make the best possible decision when it comes to their home project.

Recently, we have been collaborating with a talented committee of industry experts for a fantastic event we are planning for February 25th, 2012 at the Chestermere Recreation Centre. This event will focus on the needs of residents looking to increase the value of their real estate and investment portfolios, as well as hear about some very exciting options for land and property holdings around the lakeside areas of Chestermere.

All of us at Pinnacle Group are extremely excited to be working alongside Patricia Virk & Laura Parsons from BMO, Ian Playfair of Nesbitt Burns, Kathy Yuen of Phase One Design, and Marianne Rogerson of Mount Royal University! The wealth of information regarding maximizing the value of your real estate holdings from each of these fantastic presenters will be invaluable.

We look forward to seeing you at this event in 2012 and will continue to provide more detailed information in the coming weeks on our website, blog and Facebook page!

“With today’s aging population, professionals who specialize in healthy aging play a more important role than ever before. Aging-in-place is a concept that supports the choice of older adults to remain living in their preferred environment for as long as possible even if circumstances change. Physical environment, social and psychological support, and community resources affect aging-in-place. While the concept is increasingly gaining attention, services and supports to assist older adults to age-in-place continue to grow.” Mount Royal University, Studies in Aging

Paul Klassen is an active member of Mount Royal University’s S.A.G.E. Committee, and has been involved in forward-thinking group discussions regarding their Studies in Aging program. Coinciding with this revolutionary direction of study, Universal Design is a fresh concept that designs a home to meet, or anticipate the needs of an aging-in-place population as well as physically challenged homeowners. From discretely tracking when a homeowner gets up, to timing when they take their medicine, new technology allows family/caregivers to talk live with them at any time, and in emergency situations; caregivers are alerted automatically by phone or video monitors if a situation arises. Curbless showers, walk in tubs, stair lifts, personal elevators… the technological solutions available today to keep homeowners in their home as long as possible, or as long as they wish… are outstanding!

Pinnacle Group is extremely passionate about this movement because for many, there is simply no understanding of the looming tsunami of the Baby Boom population ‘coming of age’. The needs of this age group, both psychologically, physiologically; as well as the physical and health benefits of keeping homeowners in their home in their most beloved environment, are immensely significant on many fronts. Not only is the burden of Government housing and care greatly decreased by facilitating elongated occupancy in their homes, but the independence and mental /physical health of the homeowner is preserved as well. In many cases younger members of the family feel the need to move parents out of their home, and often it is the worst decision possible for their longevity. Not to mention the wonderful contributions that Grandparents make to their children’s families when they are afforded the benefit of living in their home of choice!

In a four-year analysis of aging-in-place, researchers found that the total care costs for participants were thousands less than traditional care options. Costs for living and health care never approached the costs for nursing homes and assisted-living services, and in addition, aging-in-place residents had improved mental and physical health outcomes. Science Daily

Respecting and serving this demographic by helping them stay in their homes longer, has an immense amount of gratification to the staff of Pinnacle. “Making Your Home Your Favourite Place to Be” is Pinnacle’s mantra, and as you get older, this becomes increasingly true. There are more reasons today to stay in your home than ever before, and with Pinnacle it is possible!

To read the study on aging-in-place as released by the University of Missouri-Columbia on March 7, 2011, please click on the link

To view Mount Royal’s SAGE Video Presentation, including an interview with Paul, please click on the link below.

Paul Klassen; GM of Pinnacle Group Renovations has developed, and is in the process of patenting a new business initiative aimed at providing custom staging for Homeowners and Realtors alike! StageitSOLD™ is a revolutionary new approach to supporting the way Realtors and Homeowners manage the selling and purchasing of residential                                                                             properties.

This ground-breaking initiative is designed to assist Realtors in closing more sales, creating a marketing niche for their Clients, as well as an aid to Clients in selling their existing home. StageitSOLD™ also aids Clients in purchasing a property with the ‘hidden potential’ to become their ‘Dream Home’.

All of us are familiar with traditional staging; StageitSOLD™ simply takes that process to an entirely new level. The premise is simple; we assist Realtors and Homeowners in two very distinct and unique ways:

For the Selling Realtor… & Client looking to purchase their ideal property:
We help ensure Clients/Buyers don’t walk away from an ideal listing just because the home is dated; perhaps simply needing a new kitchen or possibly a whole-home makeover. We act as a consulting arm to stage the listing in StageitSOLD™ fashion by meeting with both the Realtor and Client at the property of interest. By simply giving us a call; one of our consultants will meet at the property; collaborate on the vision the purchasing Client wishes for the property; we then provide a preliminary renovation proposal on the spot. In many cases in our own experience, the Client purchases a mature property with the intent of a complete renovation update. With the ability to see the hidden potential, the Client has purchased their ideal home; the Selling Realtor has found the ideal property for the Buyer; and our parent company; Pinnacle Group, provides the custom renovation …truly a Win for all parties!

For the Listing Realtor…& Client wishing to sell their home:
We will completely stage an entire estate property that has great ‘bones’ but perhaps has not been updated in years and is stuck in an era with less than fond memories. We will either provide a DVD showing a feature property of what has been done for other homeowners, or we will create a distinctive design in fabulous 3D showing what this property could look like in its transformed glory! We arrange setup on a flat-screen TV at the Open House to show visiting buyers how this home could be transformed. We assist the Listing Realtor in creating a niche for marketing their listings, as well as assist in bringing in a higher price for the selling Client. The Client is able to sell their property based on the 3D transformation; our parent company; Pinnacle Group, has the potential for another renovation; the Listing Realtor has sold the property, and the family selling their home achieves a quicker sale turnaround, not to mention the potential of a higher selling price! Another Win for all parties!

We encourage all Realtors to offer this enhanced marketing opportunity and purchasing flexibility to all their clients. We also encourage all clients looking to list their home or those looking to find their ideal property to ask their Realtor to incorporate this unique and highly effective marketing tool.

StageitSOLD™ has several phases of development, including news on a unique mortgage-staging offering by our friends at BMO™; stay tuned as we unveil additional elements of this exciting initiative!

To check out our dynamic video click on the link below!

In stride with full disclosure policy with RECA (Real Estate Council of Alberta); StageitSOLD™ pays a referral fee to the Realtor/Brokerage should the Client choose to renovate their newly purchased property.

Being that I myself am a member of the Baby Boomer generation (defined by those of us born between 1946 and 1964!) and having spent over the past 2 decades immersed in the renovation industry, I am extremely passionate about providing creative renovation solutions for those that wish to stay in their homes longer.

For many of us, our homes resonate with life’s many memories; it is where we began our life together as a couple, built our careers and raised our family. It is no surprise that this happens to be one of the primary demographics we serve in the home renovation industry. Many of our clients express a desire to stay in their beautifully-matured neighborhoods, surrounded by familiar amenities, large property footprints, but wish to modernize their surroundings and make layout modifications that will make their life transitions comfortable as their home needs change. This was a statistic supported at the recent CHBA National Conference held in Victoria where Don Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist with the TD Bank Financial Group, discussed the desire for Boomers to say in their homes longer; indeed for the vast majority they wish to have options to stay in their homes to perpetuity!

I recently accepted an appointment as a member of the Calgary Mount Royal University Advisory Committee for the Study of Aging-In-Place. Earlier this month the MRU sent their video crew to the Pinnacle Design Studio to interview me so I could share my views and industry perspective on how we can help folks stay in their homes longer. I will be collaborating with MRU for the balance of 2010 on initiatives deemed helpful from the renovation industry on this topic.

Pinnacle is currently working on an amazing initiative involving focus groups and market analysis on ‘home for life’ concepts; look for reference to this as we determine the response from homeowner’s! It is a pleasure to be a part of this project at MRU and I will continue to share information as my ongoing involvement continues.