By:  Debbie Brown

Most of us spent the first phase of our life in a house or apartment that suited our needs and lifestyle. But before we know it we come to a crossroads in our life… the children have started their own careers and moved into their own home; our working days become retirement days. For the next few years we enjoy the freedom/independence and often host the children and their families on a regular basis and volunteer in the community.

But it is inevitable that the day comes for each of us to see our roles from a different perspective. Until now we have been the family and community supporter, contributor, and income provider. We begin to transition into a time when our focus shifts to our personal needs and wants; a time to do what is best to keep healthy and safe. At this junction of our journey we start to research our options based on financial situation and personal needs.

Housing options generally fall under four areas: Active Living, Assisted Living, Supportive Living and All Care Living communities.

Active Living is usually a community housing complex. The apartments are more manageable in size but have full kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom(s). The three styles usually are one bedroom, two bedroom or a bachelor which is one open space with a bathroom. Often basic off-site home care services are available to assist with housekeeping, meal preparation and laundry.

Brandon has a nice selection of homes to choose from: Falcon Ridge, Fernwood Estates to name a few. Some of the subsidized housing are Grand Valley, Sokol, Hobbs Manor, Kin Village, Kiwanis Court, Lawson Lodge, Odd Fellows, Parkview, Princess Park and Winnipeg House. If life lease is an option you’re considering, Western Cooperative Housing offers a very cozy little community. The Summit, Lions or Crocus Gardens are also ones to consider.

Assisted Living housing is a community lifestyle complex as well. The apartments vary in size from 400-1000 square feet and offer an open living space, bedroom(s), and bathroom. A communal dining room provides specialized meals and snacks. Recreation is provided as well as transportation, housekeeping and laundry services. Often home care offers additional services such as health care assistance, supervised medication dispensing and occasionally accompaniment to medical appointments. 24-hour staff for this facility will have Health Care training. There are three complexes that fall in this category in Brandon: River Heights Terrace, Rotary Villas and Victoria Landing.

Supportive Living is a community facility that is more intimate. Often the kitchen/living area is in the middle of the building with suites in a circle around it. Each suite is a bachelor style. Services provided are activities, specialized meals, laundry and housekeeping. Staff are health care aides that administer the medications and are supervised by health professionals. Often staff are from the nursing profession. Brandon offers two facilities: Sokol Supportive Housing and Kirbyson’s House. This is an excellent bridge for those transitioning from Assisted Living to All Care. The alternative is hospitalization.

All Care Living facilities are often hospital style environments that have 24-hour professional health care. Often residents have a bedroom and shared bathroom. All meals are specialized and delivered room side. Residents are often provided with support services such as assistance with dressing and other personal necessities. Brandon offers five choices of this style of housing: Fairview, Rideau, Dinsdale, Hillcrest and Valleyview.

Whether you are personally looking at housing options or you are helping family members research their options, it is best to research the choices available, tour the facilities, and ask lots of questions.

This is a very positive time of life’s journey. You have contributed a lot to your family and community. Enjoy each phase and embrace the ride!