Archive for the ‘Senior Living’ Category

How to Decide Where to Live in Retirement

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

How to Decide Where to Live in Retirement | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThe kids are grown, the grandchildren are coming along, and soon you’ll reap the rewards of your lifetime of work. It’s called retirement. But even though you’ve planned for this major change in your life, there are still important decisions to make – including where you’ll spend your retirement years.

To make an informed decision about a future home, whether it’s in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere, here’s a brief guideline courtesy of Investors Group:

Location

Will you stay in the home where you raised your children? There may be a deep emotional attachment to the home and the neighbourhood.

Size of home

A smaller home is easier to maintain, with lower utility costs and taxes. But, consider a new home purchase carefully. Perhaps that money is better off in investments that increase your cash flow and your estate.

Buy or rent?

Downsizing to condos or apartments can be an attractive lifestyle choice. The costs of major repairs at condominiums are shared among owners, and repairs are the building owner’s responsibility. On the downside, you may find you’re living too close to neighbours or that condo fees are too steep.

Summer and winter homes

Many Canadians decide to winter in warmer southern climates. If you choose to follow these snowbirds, will you own or rent your residences in Canada and the United States? This decision depends on your personal situation, so you should consult a tax advisor.

Your health

If you have no current health problems, maintaining your present home may be practical. But if health concerns are a consideration, you may want to look at housing options that offer various levels of assisted living.

Your income

Before you begin to make decisions, you’ll want a clear picture of your overall financial situation. You need to review your projected income levels from all sources, including pensions and investments.

Most of all, choose a home where you will be happy in your retirement. Additional information about the varied financial options is available at www.investorsgroup.com and be sure to talk to a financial advisor for professional assistance.

Helping my clients find the right home for whatever life stage they’re in is what I do best!   Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

(Contents of this article courtesy of www.newscanada.com)

Editor Note: This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. (in Québec – a Financial Services Firm), and Investors Group Securities Inc. (in Québec, a firm in Financial Planning) presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own advisor for specific advice about your circumstances. For more information on this topic please contact an Investors Group Consultant.

Home Safety Guide for Snowbirds: Monitor Your Home While in the Sun

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Home Safety Guide for Snowbirds: Monitor Your Home While in the Sun | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam When Snowbirds make their way down south for their annual vacation away from our brutal Canadian winters, the last thing they need to worry about is the safety of their Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home.

According to Patrice De Luca, vice president of Marketing and Customer Care for Reliance Protectron Security Services, there are several key steps Snowbirds should take to ensure peace of mind when away from home. The following Protectron home safety tips for snowbirds can help you plan important safety measures before your departure:

  • Suspend your newspaper and mail delivery, or have a neighbour collect them for you.
  • Make sure your home looks lived in. Try not to draw the window treatments in every window.  Leave it looking somewhat natural.
  • Have someone routinely shovel the walk, clear your car off if it snows, or park their car in your driveway if you’re taking yours.
  • Don’t forget garbage collection day. Ask a neighbour to put a bag of garbage at your curb on garbage day so as not to tip off burglars.
  • Set your lights on timers, in various rooms. With some timers, the lights go on and off at different times each day, which means a burglar can’t pick up on a pattern.
  • Look into installing motion sensor lights outside to help deter a burglar. Consider installing them in front and back.
  • Ensure that all your doors and windows are locked and secure. Don’t forget about the garage; make sure the door is secure. For additional security, place a bar or stick of wood in the lower track of your sliding doors or windows.
  • Turn off the water-main and unplug the major appliances as an added precaution.
  • Inform a neighbor when you’re leaving and returning, and ask them to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Leave them a phone number where you can be reached, and a spare set of your keys in case of an emergency.
  • Consider investing in a home security system as it’s a very effective deterrent. A home protected by a monitored security system with visible decals and signs is less susceptible to a break-in than one without a system. Make sure your security system includes a loud inside alarm, detectors at all exterior doors, and motion sensors in the master bedroom and main living areas. The alarm system is linked to a remote monitoring centre that protects your home 24 hours a day against burglars, fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and floods by supervising the temperature, electrical system and points of entry of your home.

Home Safety Guide for Snowbirds: Monitor Your Home While in the Sun | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamFor ultimate control and peace of mind while you’re away, De Luca recommends you look into the new fully interactive wireless security systems like Go!Control where you can arm and disarm your alarm, lock or unlock your front door, control lights and your home’s thermostat at the touch of your smartphone or tablet. You could even have video monitoring and receive alerts to view the comings and goings of cleaning staff or house sitters. More information on protecting your home while you’re away is available online at www.protectron.com.

Another tip when you are leaving home for long periods of time:  Contact your home insurance company and let them know you’ll be away.  Many companies require a vacant home to be monitored or visited every couple of days.  Failure to do this might void your insurance coverage.

Comments or questions about anything related to real estate?  I love to hear from you.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.
(Most of the content of this article courtesy of www.newscanada.com)

 

Ready to Hang Up Your Hat? Three Reasons Why the Edmonton Area is Perfect for Retirees

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Ready to Hang Up Your Hat Three Reasons Why the Edmonton Area is Perfect for Retirees | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamCanadian retirees don’t have to head for the United States to find a great place to retire. Hot and sticky Florida or sunbaked Arizona don’t have anything on the magic of Edmonton, Alberta. If you’re searching for a great retirement haven to call home, you should browse through real estate in the quaint areas of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, and the Edmonton region. Edmonton and the surrounding area is a great place to retire. Here’s what you can expect when you enjoy your golden years in beautiful Edmonton.

Why Retire in Edmonton?

Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, and it was first settled during the booming fur trade in the late 1700s. It’s currently a major hub for the technology, mining, and energy industries in Alberta. Its nickname of “Festival City” means there’s always something going on that’s celebrating the heritage, food, film, and music of the region. If you want a city where there’s always something to see or do, then Edmonton is the place. Its lush parks and miles of walking trails are always bustling with bikers, runners, and walkers, making it a great place to stay active. Summer brings hiking, fishing, and lazy afternoons in the backyard, while winter welcomes white Christmases and a thriving skiing industry.

Golf: The Staple of the Retirement Life

Edmonton’s beautiful summers mean there are plenty of golfing opportunities in the warmer months. The Glendale Golf and Country Club opened in 1962 and is home to 18 premier holes. Also known as The Player’s Course, it hosts many national and professional golf tournaments every year. Teaching programs, fine dining, and a full service pro shop are just a few of the amenities that have made this golf course one of Edmonton’s most exclusive country clubs. There are dozens of different golf courses throughout the city, so no matter your skill level, you can find the perfect course to practice your swing.

Recreational Opportunities: Discover Elk Island National Park

Once the summer golf season is over, Edmonton residents flock to Elk Island National Park to soak in the park’s beauty in the fall and winter months. Fall brings the sounds of rutting elk echoing through the golden trees and the gruff calls of the wild bison roaming through the waving grass. Moose, deer, coyotes, and even beavers can be spotted throughout the parkland. No matter how often you visit the park, you’ll always see something different. Endless photo opportunities arise with every visit as visitors meander through the endless trails. When the snow starts falling, you can suit up and explore the wild land on your snowshoes or by cross-country skiing. Elk Island is a great ski getaway as well, and it’s often less crowded than the nearby ski resorts.

Shopping: Everything You’d Possibly Need is At Your Doorstep

Shopping is always in season in Edmonton. The 124 Street shopping area is the city’s premier shopping and dining location. Patrons can browse locally owned art galleries before hitting up ethnic restaurants or even fine dining. West Edmonton Mall is North America’s largest indoor shopping mall, and is home to a water park, a skating rink, a hotel, and an amusement park!

If you’re looking for a place to hang your hat up at the end of the day and need a final place to call home, you need look no further than Edmonton, the Festival City. Whether you enjoy strolling through the malls, skiing in the wilderness or enjoying a fun cultural festival, Edmonton has something to offer you.

Other reasons retiring in Edmonton makes good sense:  excellent health care, affordable real estate, high but affordable standard of living, accessibility to travel opportunities, decent weather most of the year, and many more!

I am always available to help you get acquainted with our lovely city, so please contact me at any time to find your own little piece of Edmonton!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Spruce Grove Specialized Transit Service

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Spruce Grove Specialized Transit Service | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThose of us who live in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, and Parkland County region are dependent on our vehicles to get around.  Most of us prefer the independence and freedom this gives us but what about people with physical and developmental disabilities, or seniors?  If you can’t drive yourself and you don’t have family, friends or neighbors willing to do chauffeur duty, what do you do?  Luckily, Spruce Grove’s Specialized Transit Service provides transportation in all sorts of situations.   Another good reason to call this area home!

First of all, what is the Specialized Transit Service?  Information from the service states that “STS is a non-profit door-to-door public transportation service for seniors 55+ and members of the public with physical or developmental disabilities. STS provides services for medical, business, personal or recreational group trips.  Service operates:  Monday – Friday [7 a.m. to 4 p.m.]  For reservations call: 780-962-2456.”

In addition, “STS is available for use by residents of the City of Spruce Grove, Parkland Village and defined limits of Parkland County.  STS operates three wheelchair accessible vehicles. Two small vans accommodate individuals and / or small groups, while the 20-passenger van serves larger groups including a maximum of four wheelchairs. Special event trips are also planned.”

Rides for individual appointments are one thing, but the service provides much more.  Take a look at the December 2013 calendar:

Tuesdays & Thursdays – Local shopping (STS 20-passenger bus; call for pick up)

December 04 – WEM Shopping

December 09 – Senior Fun Night (Parkland Village)

December 11 – Dinner @ The Orient and Christmas Light Tour (Sponsored by Spruce Grove Rotary Club)

December 12 – Christmas Light Tour (Sponsored by Spruce Grove Rotary Club)

December 16 – Dinner @ The Orient and Christmas Light Tour (Sponsored by Spruce Grove Rotary Club)

December 17 – Christmas Light Tour (Sponsored by Spruce Grove Rotary Club)

December 18 – St. Albert Shopping

December 19 – Dinner @ The Orient and Christmas Light Tour (Sponsored by Spruce Grove Rotary Club)

December 25, 2013 – January 01, 2014 (Closed for the Holidays)

If this sounds good to you, and you think you might be eligible for service from the Spruce Grove Specialized Transit Service, call 780-962-2456, or visit the City of Spruce Grove website Specialized Transit Service page for more information about the service and the registration process, including an application form.

Looking for accessible or barrier-free housing?  Let me help.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Aging in Place

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

If the phrase “aging in place” is new to you, it probably won’t be for long!  I predict in the next few years, we’ll be hearing this phrase a lot.  How does it apply to those of us living in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton areas of Alberta?   

Aging in place means stayinAging in Place | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynamg in our homes as we get older, and adapting the home to meet our needs as we age.  For most of us, aging will bring about certain predictable physical changes, such as diminished eyesight and hearing or decreased mobility.  Some people will elect to move to accommodate these changes, whether to a one-level apartment-style condo or to some kind of retirement lodging.  But most of us want to stay in the familiar surroundings of our well-loved homes as long as we possibly can.  And that may mean renovating our homes to make them as functional as possible.  Other terms often used for homes that have been modified to accommodate special needs are “universal design” and “barrier-free  homes”. 

Many of the features of a typical modern home (such as an open floor plan, especially one where the main living areas – kitchen, living room, master suite, laundry room – are on the main floor) work well with the concept of aging in place.  Other features, such as hardwood flooring instead of wall-to-wall carpeting, and venetian blinds instead of draperies, are less successful.  Those hard surfaces often don’t help a home’s acoustics, and a hard and slippery floor can be treacherous for people who are unsteady on their feet. 

When we think about accommodations for seniors, things such as grab bars in the bathroom, walk-in bathtubs, stair lifts or even elevators may come to mind.  But there are many other simpler and cheaper changes that can have a huge effect on our comfort and safety.    

Eyesight and Lighting.  Adding more lamps and upping the wattage of light bulbs throughout one’s home can make a big difference in improving visual perception.  The most important areas needing better lighting are hallways and stairs.  Consider also changing the contrast between light and dark areas in a room in order to make things easier to see.  A monochromatic bathroom may be artistically beautiful, but if there isn’t a clear demarcation between the white tub and the light-colored floor, someone might have trouble judging where one ends and the other begins, resulting in a nasty fall.   

Furniture.  Consider replacing hard-edged glass coffee tables with dual-purpose softer-edged ottomans.  Consider also replacing squishy upholstered pieces with those that provide more support, making them easier to get into and out of.  Rearrange furniture so that there is plenty of room to maneuver around individual pieces (especially if wheelchairs and walkers will be used), but also place furniture in such a way that people will be sitting closer together and/or directly facing each other to aid hearing. 

FlooringCarpet is easy to walk on and safer if falling may be an issue.  But carpet may not be the best choice if walkers or wheelchairs will be used.  The best multi-purpose flooring may be non-slip tile throughout the home.  If tripping isn’t a concern, area rugs can add soft support as well as visual interest and contrast between dark and light.  Just be sure that the edges are well taped down. 

Monitoring and Assistance.  If you live alone, you probably have a support network of people to call in an emergency and you no doubt have a telephone or cell phone in easy reach at all times.  You may have an arrangement with family, friends or neighbors to check on you each day.  Perhaps you’ve considered a service such as Lifeline that connects you to 24-hour emergency monitoring via a bracelet or necklace style communicator.  While none of these things relate directly to home modifications, all of them contribute to keeping you in your home. 

The website SeniorResource.com contains a wealth of information about aging in place.  Particularly helpful is a Home Assessment chart that matches home modifications with a specific physical infirmity.  Most of the suggestions below are from that chart: 

Limited vision:

  • Edge of counters a different color than the top
  • Edge of each step is a color that stands out
  • Contrast colors between floor and walls
  • Stairs are well-lit
  • Increased wattage of light bulbs
  • Lights in all closets
  • Outside walkways and entrances are all well-lit
  • Stove controls clearly marked and easy to see
  • Stove has big numbers that can be seen from across the room
  • Stove uses different colors to tell which parts are hot
  • Under-cabinet lighting over kitchen counter

Hearing impairment:

  • Increased volume on phones
  • Smoke detectors have strobe lights
  • Furniture arranged to facilitate hearing
  • Soft surfaces to improve acoustics
  • Ultra-quiet dishwasher to reduce background noise

Balance and coordination problems:

  • Bath seat in tub or shower, or walk-in shower with pull-down seat
  • Bath tub with transfer bench
  • Temperature controlled shower and tub fixtures
  • Rounded counter edges
  • Grab bars near bath and toilet
  • Handrails extend beyond top and bottom of stairs
  • Stairway handrails on both sides
  • No stairs to bedroom or bathroom
  • Phone in bathroom

Limited reach:

  • Hand-held shower in bathroom
  • Electrical outlets are 27” above floor
  • Light switches at 42” instead of 48”
  • Cabinet shelves no more than 10” deep
  • Closet organizer or Lazy Susan to reach belongings
  • Closet rods pull down to comfortable level
  • Kitchen and closets have pull-down or pull-out shelving
  • Upper kitchen cabinets 48” from floor
  • Cook top has easy-to-reach controls at front
  • Microwave oven no higher than 48” above floor
  • Oven doors swing to the side
  • Side-by-side refrigerator
  • Lowered kitchen counter tops
  • Sink controls on the side
  • Front-loading washer and dryer

Poor hand and arm strength:

  • Automatic garage door opener
  • Easy to open and lock doors and screens
  • Cabinets and drawers have D-shape handles
  • Doors have lever handles
  • Counter tops smooth so heavy pans can slide across them
  • Heat resistant counter near microwave oven
  • Push button controls on appliances
  • Garbage disposal or trash compactor to reduce trash
  • Rocker light switches
  • Sinks with lever faucet handles
  • Special hardware to make drawers slide easily
  • Spray hose to fill pots on the stove
  • Dishwasher 8” from floor

Trouble bending:

  • Elevated toilet or toilet seat
  • Lower kitchen cabinets 6” above floor
  • Sink no more than 6” deep
  • Carpet is low pile and firm pad
  • Clutter and electric cords are out of pathways
  • Counter top that can be used while sitting
  • Doors are wide enough for a walker to get through

Trouble walking and climbing stairs:

  • Driveway smooth but not slippery
  • Floors are smooth and slip-resistant
  • Knee space under sinks; can sit while washing
  • Knee space under stove; can sit while cooking
  • No area rugs
  • Ramp to front door with handrails on both sides
  • Stairs have slip-resistant surface
  • Thresholds on entry doors no higher than ¼ inch.

Uses wheelchair:

  • Peep hole at low  height
  • Lower window sills especially for windows on the street
  • Hallways, doorways and closets wide enough for wheelchair.  Doorways 36″ wide with off-set hinges on doors
  • Appliances have controls at the front
  • Can use counters, sinks, stove top while sitting
  • Can wheel from car to front door and then inside; no steps
  • Ramp to front door with landings at top and bottom
  • Can wheel to bedroom, bathroom, kitchen
  • Pathways clutter-free
  • Enough floor space near doors to move wheelchair
  • Roll-in shower with multiple showerheads and/or way to transfer to tub
  • Space to transfer from wheelchair to toilet
  • See all above sections 

If you decide to remodel your current home, remember that you probably won’t have to make all of the modifications listed here.  Instead, focus on those of most benefit to your individual situation and make other changes as the need arises.  

Other resources:

See also this article by Mike Holmes:  “Renovate now so that you can live well later“.

Are you looking for a “universal design” home that will allow you to age in place?  I would be happy to help you find such a home!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

 

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
© Copyright 2011, Real Estate Websites by Redman Technologies Inc. | Privacy Policy | Sitemap
The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton
MLS® MLS REALTOR® Realtor
Trademarks used under license from CREA