Step­ping stone liv­ing for se­niors

The Queens County Advance - - BUSINESS - By Nick Moase

It’s been a min­is­ter’s home, a RCMP bar­rack and a gov­ern­ment build­ing. Now the large home by the Fort Point Light­house is adding an­other use to its his­tory.

Lynn and Dean Den­nis are turn­ing it into an In­de­pen­dent Se­niors Re­tire­ment Res­i­dence.

Lynn says the idea is to give se­niors a step­ping-stone be­tween in­de­pen­dent home own­er­ship and full care manor fa­cil­i­ties. The cou­ple re­al­izes many peo­ple don’t want to leave their home, so they want to give this place as much of a “ home” feel­ing as pos­si­ble.

“ That’s why this house is re­main­ing a home, and not be­ing turned into an in­sti­tute. That’s our real drive.”

Part of the idea be­hind the res­i­dence is to sup­ply a so­cial at­mos­phere, so res­i­dents can in­ter­act with other se­niors. Lynn also hopes they can ar­range out­ings as well, if the in­ter­est is there.

How­ever, they add there is pri­vacy as well. The house is quite large, and all the rooms in­side are large so res­i­dents can be by them­selves when they want.

Right now the house is un­der ren­o­va­tions to make it more se­nior friendly, but their goal is to have ev­ery­thing in place for a Sept. 1 open­ing.

The build­ing will have two pri­vate rooms, and one shared room when they open. Later on, they also hope to add two more pri­vate rooms in an­other sec­tion of the house.

A kitchen, din­ing area and large com­mon area for the se­niors to so­cial­ize will be down­stairs. The house is also out­fit­ted with a stair lift for se­niors that have trou­ble with stairs. One of the three bath­rooms will also have a walk-in tub.

Lynn will take care of all the cook­ing and clean­ing, but se­niors will still have the in­de­pen­dence to come and go as they please.

She says leav­ing par­ents alone is a big con­cern for many peo­ple with el­derly par­ents, which they hope they can help with.

“For in­stance, if you’re wor­ried about your mother get­ting too frail to live at home by her­self, and you’re wor­ried about her leav­ing the stove on - that’s where we come in,” says Dean.

“Not only that, we’ll pro­vide a se­cure, safe en­vi­ron­ment,” adds Lynn.

Both say they un­der­stand from per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence what it’s like to worry about el­derly par­ents.

The cou­ple came to Nova Sco­tia feel­ing the need for a change. Both are orig­i­nally from BC, but lived in Al­berta for many years. Af­ter spending the past 10 years in Saskatchewan, they de­cided to move back by the wa­ter.

“ We had a list (of homes to look at) and started in Amherst. We worked our way all the way around and ended up here,” says Dean.

Once they found the house in Fort Point they knew this was where they wanted to live.

Lynn says a big rea­son for open­ing the res­i­dence was from her past in­volve­ment with se­niors. She pre­vi­ously worked as a cook at a manor fa­cil­ity, and more re­cently as a home care worker in Saskatchewan.

“I just re­ally en­joy them. They have so many good sto­ries to tell, and you can just talk to them for hours,” she says. “I think they’re re­ally un­der­val­ued most of the time.”

It wasn’t a de­ci­sion based on a whim how­ever. The cou­ple thought long and hard be­fore mak­ing the de­ci­sion. Find­ing the right house was also im­por­tant.

Both also have an en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit. Lynn owned her own gar­den­ing busi­ness be­fore and likes the free­dom that came with it. Dean man­aged their rental prop­er­ties in Saskatchewan, and hinted he was looking at other op­por­tu­ni­ties in Queens Co., once the ren­o­va­tions to the house are com­pleted.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Lynn at 356-2294.

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