Condos and Aging (Part 1 of 2)

August 2014

Condo life offers numerous advantages as one ages.

A condo has fewer indoor maintenance issues, no outdoor maintenance, offers protection from indoor weather, and indoor garages.

There are opportunities for socialization that include cards, gardening, sports and much more. For those who want more of a challenge and have available time, there are opportunities to help manage aspects of condo life by participating in various committees, and planning or organizing programs.

As one ages, however, even the brightest and most active often slow down. Some will require walking assistance in the form of a cane, wheelchair or scooter. When this time comes, condo life becomes not just enjoyable but necessary.

Retrofits in a home to accommodate mobility may include destruction of walls, widening doorways and installing a lift, all of which may reduce a home’s resale value. The cost to retrofit a house for a scooter can be $25,000 or more.

Transition to condo living can solve many problems. A suite usually is on one level with easy access to building elevators. There may be ramps in a building to facilitate those who have difficulty navigating stairs. Also, condo rules are generally sufficiently flexible to accommodate those with mobility challenges. Where package deliveries are left with the Concierge, for example, someone with mobility issues may be allowed to receive such items at their suite.

While condo life is simpler, it is not a replacement for those who require significant assistance or services not generally available in a home. Condo corporations are not qualified, and lack the resources, to provide such assistance. For seniors residing in a condo who require nonmedical assistance or companionship businesses such as Seniors for Seniors (416-481-2733 or are available to help.

There comes a time for some when it is no longer safe to live alone even in a condo. This is when it comes time to consider the value of moving to a retirement residence. An individual who may get lost in the halls or who is at risk of falling should not expect other residents or condo management to be available when assistance is needed. Such individuals as well as those who require assistance getting out of bed, with meals or in taking medication may no longer be capable of completely independent living.

Chartwell Lansing Retirement Residence (416-250-7029 or is one of numerous retirement residences serving Yonge North Corridor individuals who require assisted living and related services. They differ from similar operations of past years. These residences recognize that improved living standards and affluence have resulted in higher expectations. Like condominium buildings, these residences offer improved programming and services to accommodate this growing market.

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