In early 2014 Anne Snell and Elisabeth Hines started talking about the cost of retirement and nursing home care after Elisabeth’s family moved her parents from a retirement home to a nursing home.
Elisabeth found herself ‘doing the math’ for her own possible future retirement and nursing home care needs. The reality check was disturbing! She was only 62, and like many women, was living alone on a single-income when she realized she would not be able to afford a retirement home, and, if she required a nursing home, she would have to share a ward room for the ‘last chapter’ of her life. That did not sit well with Elisabeth, privacy at the end of life was very important to her.
Anne and Elisabeth realized that many people they knew had not ‘done the math’ and would be unprepared for their retirement and end of life housing and care financially. They started the Rockwood Co-Living Interest Group to highlight the need for and possibility of alternative supportive housing for seniors. The focus of the group’s information sessions was to get people to ‘do the math’, and share information about ‘out of reach’ retirement home costs so that they would be prepared for their future needs. Expression of interest forms were made available to attendees at the information sessions to determine their interest in living in or financing a co-housing project in Rockwood.
Bonnie Mullen, who was a member of the same Crone’s group as Anne and Elisabeth, was invited to join the Rockwood Co-Living Interest Group. Her insights as a real estate agent were considered to be an asset.
Members of the group researched various alternative housing options and decided that a senior’s co-housing shared home could be an innovative affordable seniors housing solution. All they needed now was a property and money to launch the project. Anne and Elisabeth walked many streets in Rockwood searching for a suitable location. One day after walking to a house that Anne had seen for sale, Anne pointed to a house they were passing and indicated that Janette lived there. Janette had attended one of their information sessions. Elisabeth observed the property and commented enthusiastically, “Anne, Janette has a double lot!” They went back to Anne’s house and called Janette to ask if they could come over for a chat. When they arrived at Janette’s door she commented to herself “I know why they are here, this will be the co-housing home”.
Oak Hill was born from an idea that formed in January of 2014 to a reality in 2017. The municipality of Guelph Eramosa has given approval for the renovation and construction of the co-housing home as a single detached family home. With construction complete in 2018 Oak Hill will provide a home for six co-owners.