Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Quebec Developer Forecasts a Retirement Home Construction Boom in Canada

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Quebec Developer Forecasts a Retirement Home Construction Boom in Canada

Article excerpt

Canada faces a seniors' retirement home boom

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MONTREAL - Canada is in store for a seniors' retirement home construction boom to accommodate a surge in the number of aging baby boomers, and those building the facilities say they'll include all the boomer-friendly comforts and conveniences of home.

Luc Maurice, a Quebec developer who's spending $1 billion on new projects, is looking to double the number of units he operates in Quebec. And he expects at least $3 billion a year will need to be spent across the country to build and upgrade retirement facilities.

"It's not about waiting to die," he said when describing what seniors are looking for in today's retirement homes.

Future seniors are expected to be wealthier, to live longer, healthier lives and to increasingly value their freedom and autonomy. Many will seek companionship because they have fewer children than current-day seniors, or no children at all.

While not all will seek extreme luxury, seniors want quality condo-style amenities including modern kitchens and an array of optional services that allow them to live independently, said Maurice, who plans to add 17 buildings with more than 5,500 units in Montreal, Gatineau and Quebec City over the next few years.

They expect Wi-Fi that eases communication with loved ones, common areas with recreational services like pools and gyms, access to gardens and lifelong learning. Many seek urban settings and want to be close to liquor stores, cafes and shopping.

Most importantly, they want choice -- about meals, activities and levels of care, says Thomas Wellner, CEO of global "senior living communities" operator Revera, which sees a doubling of its Canadian units in the next five years.

"I think there are opportunities for much more relevant offerings to meet the needs of seniors that are coming," he said in an interview.

Quebec is Canada's leader in retirement housing, accounting for about half of 2,794 residences with 224,342 rental units available for seniors 75 years and older, says a 2015 report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. released Wednesday.

About 18.5 per cent of Quebec seniors live in 1,300 retirement homes, well in excess of the nine per cent Canadian average and five per cent in Ontario. Nova Scotia had the lowest rate at just 1.9 per cent.

Average monthly rents for bachelor units and private rooms with at least one meal were lowest in Quebec at $1,521 and highest in Ontario at $2,815, said the CMHC. …

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