Adult children helping ensure aging parents live in style and comfort
their parents to have the very best,” says Prashad, a 20-year vet of the seniors’ housing market, and CEO of Mississauga’s newest “active aging community,” Origin Evergreen.
“ The industry used to have three paint schemes — green, beige and more beige,” Prashad says. Instead, for the first time, he incorporated a decor centre into Origin Evergreen so the first renters and condo buyers had a wide range of paint, appliance and finish options.
“We find the kids are spending a lot on upgrades, and adult daughters are coming in and saying, ‘Mom, you’ve always wanted granite, why don’t you have it now?’”
The reason is simple, says Cowan, a Mississauga real estate agent who searched for five months before falling in love with Origin. The two-hectare apartment and condo development has 300 units and Cowan was especially wowed by its smorgasbord of services, from a ’50s-style diner and bowling alley to an on-site spa and salt water pool touted as being easier on coloured hair than all that nasty chlorine.
“I wanted to extend her life,” says Cowan, who spent $22,000 on upgrades to the $270,000 condo (she figures the unit, with one bedroom and den, is now worth well over $300,000). She had the kitchen rearranged to make it easier for her 74-year-old mother, Ina McPeak, to get around on her scooter.
“Mom didn’t want me to spend the money and she doesn’t like a lot of frills. She wasn’t brought up that way,” Cowan says. “But a lot of kids want to give back to their parents, and retirement living doesn’t get any better than this. You should be pampered. You should have the quality of life you deserve right until the end.”
Active aging is the new credo of an industry running to keep up with baby boomers and their parents. Many of these adult kids are well-heeled professionals who are walking into retirement development open houses with their eyes fixed on the future — their parents’ and their own.
“Kids my age — I’m pushing 50 — are telling us, ‘This is what I want and what I don’t want,’” says Brian Bradley, president of Hearthstone Communities Services Ltd.
His company builds luxurious developments west of Toronto in Burlington and on Etobicoke’s waterfront that Bradley likens more to resorts than retirement homes, given that they include a la carte offerings of everything from personal trainers and yoga classes to shuttle buses that can ferry residents to shopping, theatre or Niagara wineries.
“Some kids are buying with a notion to take the unit over when their parents die,” says Bradley.
The next phase in the evolution of retirement communities will be location, location, location, developers agree.
“I want to be one of the first guys to do something in Toronto’s entertainment district,” Prashad says.