Elder Care

Supportive Housing For Seniors Glossary

Abbeyfield is a type of shared supportive housing based on a model developed in Great Britain, that has been adapted in British Columbia and other parts of Canada. Usually residents have a private room, perhaps their own bathroom, but other living spaces are shared with 10 to 12 other residents. A housekeeper usually provides meals, cleaning and other support. The term group home is also used to describe this type of residence.Aging in place refers to older people who remain living in the community and the dwelling they consider home despite changing health. The term encompasses safety and accessibility of the pedestrian and built environments as well as access to community amenities and necessary support and health services. Since different people make different choices, a community that encourages aging in place will offer a variety of housing options and services to its citizens.

Care facility is a residence where health services and assistance with activities of daily living are provided by health care and rehabilitation staff. Residents have private or shared rooms; common dining room and program space is also provided. To qualify to live in a publicly funded facility, residents are assessed as needing this level of continuing care. Whether publicly or privately funded, Ministry of Health care facilities must be licensed under the Continuing Care Facility Act or regulated under the Hospital Act. Some residential care settings are not required to be licensed due to their small size and/or the type of care provided.

Congregate housing is a type of supportive housing in which each household has a self-contained unit with at least a small kitchen. A dining room and other recreational areas are usually found on site.

Home support or home nursing are services provided to individuals in their homes. Seniors who receive these services may live in detached homes, apartments, or supportive housing environments. These services are offered by regional health authorities and by private agencies.

Life lease is an agreement that permits its purchaser to occupy a dwelling unit for life through the payment of an entrance fee and monthly operating fees. The entrance fee may be equal to or less than the market value of the unit and is usually refundable when the lessee dies or terminates the lease. Some life lease projects offer support services while others do not.

Market housing is provided by the private sector at rates that reflect market values. It may be either independent or supportive housing.

Multilevel care refers to care facilities that provide care at many levels (intermediate care, extended care), in which residents can easily move from one level of care to another. Complexes may also include independent and supportive housing.

Naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs) are buildings or neighbourhoods where many seniors live, usually attracted by a convenient location, appropriate housing stock and the availability of amenities and services.

Non-market housing is a broad category that includes subsidized housing, but also housing that is provided by housing societies, churches, service clubs, etc. without government subsidy but still operating on a non-profit basis. It includes both independent and supportive housing.

Seniors’ housing is any kind of housing restricted to occupants over 55. The BC Human Rights Code ensures that people over the age of 55 have the opportunity to live in residential premises that are operated for their enjoyment and convenience and from which younger people are excluded. The Code does not permit discrimination in housing on any other basis.

Special needs housing refers to housing for people with specific housing-related needs. Individuals who need this type of housing could include those with chronic mental illness, living with HIV/AIDS, with chronic dependencies on drugs or alcohol, who are physically or mentally disabled, who are frail and elderly, women and children fleeing abusive family situations, and individuals who are discharged from hospitals and prisons, and have no other homes.

Subsidized seniors’ housing (also called seniors’ social housing) refers to housing built through various federal and provincial programs for seniors who have relatively low incomes. As the subsidies apply only to the physical housing stock, most is intended for independent seniors, with no on-site services.

Supportive communities ensure older citizens have good access to local amenities and resources, and have every opportunity to participate in community life. This includes a range of suitable housing options, local support services and an accessible pedestrian-based public works infrastructure.

Supportive housing combines building features and personal services to enable people to remain living in the community as long as they are able and choose to do so. It is housing with a combination of support services, including, at a minimum:

  • a private space with a lockable door
  • a safe and barrier-free environment
  • monitoring and emergency response
  • at least one meal a day available, and
  • housekeeping, laundry and recreational opportunities.

Nursing and other health-related services are delivered by the local health authority by special arrangement or as they would be to any other individuals living independently in the community.

Glossary is courtesy of Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services

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