Regina, like many other Canadian cities are facing a boom in boomers – how are we preparing the housing market to keep them comfortable for as long as possible?
Regina’s population aged 65 and over represents 13.1% of the city’s total population. While this is below the national average of 14.8%, it is group of citizens that will continue to grow in size and need to be included in a city’s housing strategy.
Seniors want to stay active and participate in their communities (more than 60% of them volunteer regularly). Most of them prefer to ‘age in place’. That means they maintain the ability to live in their own home and community safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.
“A livable community is one that has affordable and appropriate housing, supportive community features and services, and adequate mobility options, which together facilitate personal independence and the engagement of residents in civic and social life.”
– A report to the Nation on Livable communities, AARP
In a 2012 study by AARP, 90% of respondents said they preferred to age in their own homes. And on self-reported assessment on aging measures, like optimism, quality of life and life satisfaction, those living in a home that meets their needs score better than those living in homes that do not meet their needs.
To make that possible, we want to ensure affordable housing options, more walkable communities with access to amenities and transit, and flexible home designs that allow for caregivers to reside with those in need. Design Regina includes information on Age-Friendly Communities in their Housing Strategy. This helps encourage the design of residential and mixed-use developments to the meet the abilities and needs of seniors to live safely, enjoy good health and stay involved. This is done through the Complete Neighbourhood concept ensuring citizens have access to services, amenities, public transit and mobility options.
For example, new communities may include a multi-family development designed to attract both seniors and young families, providing more social interaction. Some design trends are appearing to help seniors stay at home longer, and more comfortably. We’re definitely on our way to creating housing choice throughout the lives of all Reginians.