Issue 30 – Decided

Charlie and Hazel couldn’t help but giggle a bit as Catherine recounted her experience meeting the manager at the publicly funded seniors’ residence in her neighbourhood. As Catherine spoke over the phone, it became more and more clear that she was only now coming to understand all the options that her parents had already taken the time to research.

“And apparently there is a difference between affordable housing and subsidized housing,” Catherine explained. “Subsidized is where you only contribute 30% of your overall income, but affordable is taken to mean below market rent.” She seemed quite proud of her new found knowledge, so Charlie and Hazel didn’t dare interrupt. “Perhaps you would still be eligible to apply to an ‘affordable’ seniors community, that way you’re not having to rush through all your savings and profits from selling the house.”

“We already looked into all this Catherine,” Charlie explained. “We don’t qualify because of my pension, and we are actually a bit better off than most seniors looking for housing these days. We crunched the numbers and really, a life lease is our best option for market housing. At least we’d get a bit of a break.”

“It just doesn’t make sense to me!” Catherine was adamant. “It seems like a lot of money to put down all at once.”

Hazel sighed, “But Catherine honey, we would HAVE the money from the sale of the house. It’s like paying rent up front – but at a lower rate. For what we’d be paying in accommodation and service package fees for a similar suite in a rental community over the next ten years, we would only pay two thirds of that if we went with a life lease – and we get to stay there indefinitely.”

“But you wouldn’t totally own the unit mom!” Catherine kept trying to get her point across, but it wasn’t working.

Hazel tried to smile gently through the phone. “We wouldn’t own a unit if we rented it…it’s the same thing. The only way to own a unit is to purchase a condo…but then we’d be looking at having to get services in if we need it, which could get very expensive. And if we’re going to live in a place with no supports, we may as well just stay put.”

“Well, maybe you should do that mom…” Catherine was getting tired from arguing. She wasn’t making any headway.

Hazel had finally lost her patience. “What? And the boys are going to come over and mow this acre lot, and Jared’s going to plow the drive for us? You know that’s not reasonable Catherine. I can barely keep up with my chores around here.”

“There’s SIX bedrooms here Catherine! SIX!” Charlie really couldn’t help himself now. He couldn’t understand why it was so hard for Catherine to accept what needed to be done.

“I would just personally feel better if you looked at more than one option,” Catherine sighed.

“But Catherine, we have! We’ve toured Lloyd and Marilyn’s place. They don’t take pets. We looked at a few others on the Alberta Seniors Housing Directory, and while there were a lot of rental options, the life lease building in south Edmonton has everything we are looking for. That’s where we want to go!” Charlie let out a deep breath at the end of his rant.

“Well, ok then,” Catherine sighed. “I guess that’s that.”

It sounds like Charlie and Hazel are decided. What do you think of their decision? Do you think they are making the right choice? What do you think their next steps should be? Be sure to share your thoughts with us!


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