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Terry Colfer

Accommodation For Seniors

When I volunteered to write an article on accommodation for seniors in the Ottawa region I began with the vivid memory of my sister, brother and me attempting to find suitable accommodation for our father in the Montreal area. This happened a few years ago when, at 88 years young, it was time for our dad to move from his apartment to a seniors’ residence. Quite frankly, it was a challenging and frustrating task. Amongst other things, we had trouble finding the appropriate material so that we could properly identify the options.

In researching the material for this important topic I was pleased to find that a number of guides, websites, organizations, etc. were currently available in Ottawa. Some useful websites and guides have been noted at the end of this submission. While all the sites shown do provide guidance and background information, the “Ottawa Seniors” website is particularly comprehensive and helpful. It is simple to navigate and provides first class information relating to seniors’ housing and associated topics.

This excellent site (www.ottawaseniors.com) has been operational for the past seven years. Originally founded as a simple online event calendar for Ottawa seniors, the site has developed into an exceptionally important resource for seniors living in the National Capital Region. In short, most of the information pertaining to this subject, and more, can be found on this site; there is no need ‘to re-invent the wheel’.

Once you reach the Ottawa Seniors home page click on the ‘about us’ button in the upper left hand menu. Accommodation assistance available is then divided into three main sub- headings:
-staying in your own home. If you are in this category you will need assistance in such areas as home modifications, help with yard work, cleaning, etc. The unique ‘2005 Ottawa Seniors Service Guide’ linked to this site lists more than 700 diverse services for seniors ranging from home maintenance to insurance requirements.
-seeking a retirement residence. This linked site boasts the largest data base of its kind to highlight the Ottawa area. There are more than 125 residences listed along with photos, points of contact and other pertinent details. There is NO CHARGE for facilities to be listed in this data base. The residences can been divided for your convenience into numerous groups including; rent geared to income, private or non-profit operated, self contained units, nursing care availability, bilingual facilities, and so on.
-planning to downsize, sell or rent. “Ottawa Seniors” property listings can help give your property more exposure for a very cost-effective fee.

With the above guidance, help of user-friendly websites and other info (some of which has been noted following this article), you should now be in a reasonable position to pursue your particular accommodation needs and obtain the best possible results.

A final word of advice to those amongst us who consider that this all might be very interesting for other seniors but hardly pertinent at this point. For some of us, it is just too early in the process to even consider such a move now. A professional wisely suggested that it is particularly prudent in this business to plan ahead. One should regularly monitor the situation so that when the time comes to relocate (and it will come!) to the next stage of your retirement living you will have done your homework. This is key. You should then have a reasonable chance of being where you wish to be; not where the system or family end up randomly placing you.

Happy Hunting and Good Luck!

Terry Colfer



Directory of Housing and Residences for Seniors in Ottawa-Carleton.
560-1335: City of Ottawa.
Guide for Selecting a Retirement Residence.
Guide for Selecting a Long Term Care Facility.
789-3577: The Council on Aging of Ottawa
Directory of Resources for Senior Citizens of Ottawa
234-8044: Senior Citizens Council of Ottawa



Myriam Jamault

Public Health Nurse


Ann Nowak Ottawa Judy Bedell Good Companion Support Services INDEPENDENT LIVING: A QUALITY LIFE AT HOME

Think of things that fulfill your life’s dreams, ambitions and desires. Chances are that they will fit into one of three categories: happiness, longevity and independence. Attaining these depends largely on one factor, your health. Although the risk of disease and disability clearly increases with advancing age, poor health is not an inevitable consequence ageing.Much of the illness, disability and death associated with chronic disease are avoidable through known prevention measures People say over and over that they would give almost anything to have good health, yet they avoid making some of the key lifestyle changes needed to gain and maintain good health. The following information and guidance to resources can assist one to make healthy choices.

Five basic principles apply:

Take charge

Eat well

Stay Active

Prevent falls

Stay connected

1. Take Charge:

While following doctor’s orders, inform yourself through asking questions, such as ‘why was the test ordered? What did they find? What is the current or new prescription intended to do?’


Seek your doctor’s advice on: diet, smoking, screening tests, e.g. blood sugar, bone density, injections required/recommended, etc.


Research relevant health topics thoroughly yourself.


2. Eat Well:

Good nutrition helps people look, feel and perform better. style="">  It reduces the risk of chronic diseases. style="">  Conversely, being overweight has greater negative impact as one age.


Of course, food choices are ingrained since childhood by culture and this has to be faced.


As one ages, the caloric requirements go down. style="">  Key ingredients for the diet are calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Omega 3, Echinacea and folic acid.


Make a food list before going to the supermarket to reduce impulse choices.


Check food labels for nutrition facts, ingredients and nutrition claims.


Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Conversely, coffee and alcohol dehydrate one.


3. Stay Active:

It is never too late to be active.

Physical activity is a key pillar for maintaining independence. (Sixty percent of older adults in North America are inactive.) It reduces obesity, risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, premature death, etc.


After the age of 55, in the absence of regular activity, muscle mass declines by 40-50 percent. style="">  The result is lower mobility and reduced capacity to perform those movements basic to life.


It is, however, never too late to begin. Older adults get much of the benefit acquired by their younger peers if taking up flexibility and strength training, plus relief from stress.


The target should be 30- 60 minutes per day, five days per week. style="">  Endurance activities can be such as walking, swimming, cycling, dancing. Complementing this should be strength and balance activities, which will reduce the risk of falling and similar accidents. In addition, stretching/flexibility exercises will enhance mobility for everyday activities.


Start slowly and listen to your body. style="">  Check with your physician for any specific restraints.


Make a commitment and track your progress. Set realistic albeit challenging targets.


Choose activities that you enjoy.


Integrate exercise into your lifestyle by parking a little farther way, using the stairs, etc.


4. Preventing Falls: style="" lang="EN-CA">

Falls are preventable. Unfortunately, on the average one in three seniors falls each year, resulting in injury, reduced quality of life and even death.


In and around the home one can take measures such as handrails, adequate lighting, keeping paths clear of snow, etc. At the same time, avoid risky behaviour such standing on a chair.


Be ready to use safety devices such as a cane with an ice-pick point in winter.


5. Staying Connected:

Stay in touch with family, friends and social networks.


Consider ways to keep engaged in one’s community.


Stimulate the brain through continuing to learn.


Have a positive outlook and manage stress appropriately.


If and when needed, look for support for one’s own responsibilities as a caregiver.


Helpful Booklets

Step Up and Be Counted

City of Ottawa (ottawa.ca)

Public Health Dept.

A Guide to Preventing Falls

Ontario seniors’ Secretariat


Canada ’s Physical Activity Guide

For Older Adults



Canada’s Food Guide

Health Canada



Tags: Terry Colfer