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.