“I don’t want to move…”
An open letter to residents
By Lillian McMullin
My husband and I love living in the West Rouge – Centennial area. We want to stay here but that may be impossible. Let me explain.
We moved here 28 years ago. We looked long and hard at different locations before deciding on West Rouge. When we purchased our home, we asked the builder about future seniors’ residences. He showed us a “plan of subdivision” and pointed to the designated site for a retirement home. This was very important to us and helped us with our decision. We were in our 40’s and felt that 20 to 30 years ahead, we may not want such a big home. We needed to be assured that senior residences would be available to enable us to stay where we put down roots. Big mistake. Town homes are now on the designated site. This has presented a big problem for us and for many others in the neighbourhood.
We are not unique in our thinking – I volunteer at Port Union Seniors Centre and have had discussions with others about our housing situation. There are families in our area who have lived here for over 50 years. Sadly, many are without their spouse and find it difficult to stay in their home. Some of the comments I have heard are “it is too expensive to maintain”, “it is too lonely living alone”, “cost of living has escalated but pensions stay the same”, and “I don’t want to move from my area”.
Some couples have age-related medical issues and find they cannot keep up with the physical work involved in owning a home.
One woman explained that she would enjoy life more if she could sell her home and rent a senior’s apartment. Real estate has escalated to the point where the old term “property rich, cash poor” applies. While some senior couples lived comfortably when both were living, their income lowered with the passing of their spouse. The cost of living continues to increase. By the time all home expenses are met, there is little left for pleasure.
I know some senior members have sold and moved into condos away from the neighbourhood. Others have moved to Pickering, Ajax or Whitby seniors’ buildings. That doesn’t seem fair to me. If those areas can offer accommodations to seniors, why can’t we? I have approached our politicians for help and was told to “go talk to the builders in your area”.
What we need in our area is an apartment building for 65 and older. Our seniors are not asking for government subsidy. They are willing to pay their way. They just need a place to call home, in their own neighbourhood.
I have been told that land is available to house such a building. However, how does one go about asking our government for help in establishing such a residence? Our younger families in their 40’s will have the same problem unless something is done now.
It is important that our community residents understand what the future holds for them. Land for development is becoming scarce.
Who do we approach to help with this problem?
Lillian McMullin is interested in hearing from residents who share her concerns or have ideas on how to address this issue. You can email her at email@example.com or send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.