New society plans to build residence for seniors

A new society wants to build a supportive living residence for Yukon seniors. The Vimy Heritage Housing Society held its first annual general meeting this week. It wants to build a residence for around 60 Yukon seniors.

A new society wants to build a supportive living residence for Yukon seniors.

The Vimy Heritage Housing Society held its first annual general meeting this week. It wants to build a residence for around 60 Yukon seniors. If all goes well, construction could begin next year, with the building slated to open in 2015, society president Don Knutson said this week.

It would offer one- or two-bedroom apartments to individuals more than 55 years old. All apartments would be wheelchair accessible. Rent would be between $1,500 and $2,500 monthly. Meals and housekeeping services would be included. And the society and residents would organize recreation activities.

“It’s more of a community, not just a facility,” said Knutson.

And for seniors who are struggling to live alone, community is most important.

“It’s just a far, far healthier way for them to age, rather than just cocooned in a room some place watching TV,” said Knutson.

Representatives from the local Royal Canadian Legion branch and different seniors’ organizations make up the newly-created board. Eventually, it would hire an executive director to run the facility.

This isn’t the first time a building like this has been considered in the Yukon. The local legion branch worked on opening a similar facility about 10 years ago, said Knutson. It wanted to create a 50-unit seniors residence, called Regina Place. But it couldn’t get enough money to complete the project, he said.

There was a lot of interest then – over 100 people showed up to a meeting, Knutson said. So, he’s confident there won’t be a problem filling 60 units. Over 40 people attended the society’s first meeting this week, and a consultant has told the board there’s a great market in the Yukon for this.

This new building would fill a unique need. Seniors living alone have few options besides moving into continuing-care facilities, said Knutson. “It would be a shame to tie up those particular facilities if what (seniors) need can be handled in the type of facility that we want to build,” he said.

But this new facility wouldn’t have medical professionals on staff. Residents would be expected to provide medical care themselves, said Knutson.

The society will be applying for federal grants to help fund the project. After the business plan is complete, it will hold information meetings across the territory.

Seniors housing continues to be a need across the territory. As of the end of May, there were 97 seniors on waiting lists for Yukon Housing Corporation housing.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at

mgillmore@yukon-news.com

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