Stepping stone living for seniors

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It’s been a minister’s home, a RCMP barrack and a government building. Now the large home by the Fort Point Lighthouse is adding another use to its history. Lynn and Dean Dennis are turning it into an Independent Seniors Retirement Residence.

Stepping stone living for seniors

Lynn says the idea is to give seniors a stepping-stone between independent home ownership and full care manor facilities. The couple realizes many people don’t want to leave their home, so they want to give this place as much of a “home” feeling as possible. “That’s why this house is remaining a home, and not being turned into an institute. That’s our real drive.”

Part of the idea behind the residence is to supply a social atmosphere, so residents can interact with other seniors. Lynn also hopes they can arrange outings as well, if the interest is there.

However, they add there is privacy as well. The house is quite large, and all the rooms inside are large so residents can be by themselves when they want.

Right now the house is under renovations to make it more senior friendly, but their goal is to have everything in place for a Sept. 1 opening.

The building will have two private rooms, and one shared room when they open. Later on, they also hope to add two more private rooms in another section of the house.

A kitchen, dining area and large common area for the seniors to socialize will be downstairs. The house is also outfitted with a stair lift for seniors that have trouble with stairs. One of the three bathrooms will also have a walk-in tub.

Lynn will take care of all the cooking and cleaning, but seniors will still have the independence to come and go as they please.

She says leaving parents alone is a big concern for many people with elderly parents, which they hope they can help with. “For instance, if you’re worried about your mother getting too frail to live at home by herself, and you’re worried about her leaving the stove on - that’s where we come in,” says Dean. “Not only that, we’ll provide a secure, safe environment,” adds Lynn.

Both say they understand from personal experience what it’s like to worry about elderly parents.

The couple came to Nova Scotia feeling the need for a change. Both are originally from BC, but lived in Alberta for many years. After spending the past 10 years in Saskatchewan, they decided to move back by the water. “We had a list (of homes to look at) and started in Amherst. We worked our way all the way around and ended up here,” says Dean.

Once they found the house in Fort Point they knew this was where they wanted to live.

Lynn says a big reason for opening the residence was from her past involvement with seniors. She previously worked as a cook at a manor facility, and more recently as a home care worker in Saskatchewan. “I just really enjoy them. They have so many good stories to tell, and you can just talk to them for hours,” she says. “I think they’re really undervalued most of the time.”

It wasn’t a decision based on a whim however. The couple thought long and hard before making the decision. Finding the right house was also important.

Both also have an entrepreneurial spirit. Lynn owned her own gardening business before and likes the freedom that came with it. Dean managed their rental properties in Saskatchewan, and hinted he was looking at other opportunities in Queens Co., once the renovations to the house are completed.

For more information, contact Lynn at 356-2294.

Organizations: Queens Co.

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Alberta Amherst Fort Point

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