If you think the most common answer to the question “What is your biggest fear about aging?” was death, then you are wrong. One of the biggest fears is living longer than one’s money. And that is exactly what is happening all over the western world. In Canada. In Ontario. Right here in Parry Sound/ Muskoka.
Why is this all happening?   CLICK HERE FOR THE REASON
      Now, a second question. You sell your home to live off the equity. What happens if you are living in one of those privately owned, swanky retirement homes and  your needs increase. Physical and mental.  Suddenly you are paying $8,000 and upwards for rent, food and SPECIAL CARE a month! (This is not an exaggeration! Remember they are PROFIT DRIVEN.) By 80 you find yourself broke. What do you think happens next?  You get kicked out onto the street. They are not a charity. They are profit driven. 
      You are now your family’s problem, if they can afford or want to care for you. Or, you become the government’s problem. Often you would be sent to a long-term care facility even if you are not sick…that is, if there’s space available.
There is a solution where;
  1. You  can still live in a house and have equity that remains part of your estate and is passed on to whomever you choose.
  2. You are living with people who share common interests.
  3. You won’t be lonely or depressed.
  4. You can still have a garden, have a hobby, entertain friends and family etc.
  5. You can still travel. Go to Florida for the winter if you want.
  6. Have a job if you want or need.
  7. You can still live with your spouse.
  8. You have control of your life and have a say in what happens around you.
  9. Most of all, can cost up to 85% less than living in a corporately owned “old folks home”.
      I am working with Shelley Raymond of Solterra Co-Housing.  As the executive director of the non-profit R’CAP  (Rosseau Culture and Arts Project), we are creating Rosseau Gardens. The plan is to begin with two, separate  residential dwelling units, or as you may know them, single family homes. We already have the land, two 1/2 acre lots in the middle of the Village of Rosseau, directly behind TWG Guest House . Working with architects Brad Culver and Cynthia Henderson, each home will not only include the owner’s needs but also capture the quaint charm of the village.
      At this time we are proposing that one home will have 4 units and the other 6 units. (This may change based on initial response and need.) Each unit will consist of a bedroom (or two bedrooms for couples), a sitting area and a fully equipped and safe bathroom. The units will share a gorgeous up to date kitchen, professionally decorated living room, laundry facilities, hobby/guest room  and screened in porch. (A necessity here in Northern Ontario). Each unit will also have a garage for storage or to park the car.  You control, with your own furniture, how your unit is decorated.
  1. Each unit will represent  approximately 25% shared ownership, depending on the square footage.
  2. Each deed of ownership is tenants-in-common which means it can be sold, transferred and become part of a person’s estate, NOT passed on to the other owners as in joint ownership.
  3. When a person (or persons) purchases a unit they agree to the “house rules” which includes everything from pet ownership to who can buy your unit when time comes to sell. Each unit, not person, has a single vote. This is a democratic household after all! 
  4. As we are still in the preliminary stages, each house may or may not be themed. In other words, if interest is there, it can be a house that accepts residents of Rosseau area, or artists,  all females, or ex-circus performers!
  5. Initially we’ll be looking for buyers at a similar stage in their life with similar needs. It may be four healthy, independent individuals. It could also be four individuals and a couple who need some assistance with maintenance, cleaning or meal preparations. Interest from the public will guide the initial setup. 
  6. Here’s a simple example as to why this is cheaper.  We all know that one of our biggest expenses here in Ontario is Hydro! So, you will only pay a fraction of the bill. Same goes for heat. Or, if a gardener or cleaning person is needed, instead of paying $20 dollars upwards an hour, you are paying $5. Snow shovelling? Only a percentage. As the needs and expenses of the household increases, they are shared by the users. If only two people need special care then the costs are 1/2.  But again, it’s a democratic household. You vote on what’s needed. Shopping, cooking, cleaning or personal care.
  7. Who decides who buys into the house? At the beginning, the first person to buy in decides who the second person is. Then they agree upon the third and the three decide on the fourth. Remember, there are house rules that are legally binding. But as a group, you can vote to change the rules. YOU AND YOUR HOUSEMATES ARE ALWAYS IN CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE, NOT A CORPORATION.  (NOTE: Four friends may want to buy the four units initially. This is the best possible way of knowing who you are living with!) 
  8. There are three possible ways of becoming a tenant. First, if you have the funds, you buy your unit outright.  Second, if you have only a down payment, we may be able to arrange  financing. Third, you rent your unit. Again, the house rules  will say whether rentals are possible and to whom. YOU ARE IN CONTROL of your life.
  9. Yes, a third party, an investor can buy a share, but they too must abide by the house rules. This is an ideal, controlled and inexpensive way for children to purchase a unit and have their parents live in it.
  10. Will value of the unit increase? Yes. Supply and demand will control the future price, but remember the purchaser must always comply with the house rules. Plus, you don’t buy this to make money, it’s to save money and not outlive it!
  11. What is the non-profit R’CAP’s future role? R’CAP’s role is only  the initiator. Our goal is to ensure that the units, when initially sold, are AFFORDABLE. We are applying to Canada Housing and Mortgage for funds to help with the initial setup costs. Governments on all levels are fully aware of  the challenges that an aging population presents. Shelley and Solterra Co-Housing has been working on the format for several years and the government sees this as one solution to the challenge. We also have access to care providers willing to work with our project when and if the need arises.
  12. What is the cost of a unit? The final price is yet to be decided. It will be affordable based on the final design, square footage etc.
  13. When? ASAP! 

What’s next?

Each unit or share will eventually  be offered on if needed. As we are still at the design stage, initially we are looking for interested parties who can share their needs, wants and desires. This is not a commitment to buy. We will ask you to fill out a confidential, online information form. Once our final designs are completed, those who initially show interest will have the first chance to buy. A refundable deposit will be required that is put into a trust account. ALL PURCHASES WILL BE GOVERNED BY THE RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE BBB, REAL ESTATE COUNCIL OF ONTARIO, and TARION (Ontario New Homes Act). 

If you are interested you can contact me personally at  or 705-774-4487, or through the  Solterra Co-Housing Contact Form 

Live long and prosper! 


Rebranding Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. It is the one holiday that I md2believe needs to be rebranded.

Valentine’s Day, no matter how you spin it, was purposely designed to make single people feel like crap. Mother’s Day has the potential of a greater purpose beyond the traditional definition. Unlike Valentine’s Day, where I am single,  my Mother is still with me. Literally. She’s visiting for the weekend.

I used to get quite anxious when she would come to visit. It meant spending an entire day before her arrival cleaning, only to have her spend the entire time while she was here, cleaning. These days I look at her visits as a blessing for with so many projects on the go and running my home as a B and B , it forces me to keep the place ready for last minute guests.

I am often reminded by friends with ailing parents how lucky I am. My Mom, who at the age of 85 bought her first BMW, at 87 sold her house and moved into an apartment and now at 89 is moving back to a condo, is in good health and independent. Most people guess her to be in her 70’s.

mdc1Mom is in fact the perfect weekend guest. She always arrives with a full trunk of groceries so I have learned not to shop before her arrival. However, I have put my foot down when it comes to her shopping at the Dollar Store. She has a need to buy stuff that she thinks I can’t live without, like yet another red plastic strainer “because it will put colour into your kitchen?” However, this week she did show up with Mark Cullen’s latest weeding device from Home Hardware. Good choice.

But this isn’t about my Mom. For many who by my age no longer have their mothers still with them, or women without children, Mother’s Day can be a bittersweet day. I would like to propose that we expand the concept of the day to celebrate something that we all love to experience, now and then, “mothering”. By mothering I am not talking about women who are obsessed with the welfare of or living vicariously through their children.  Rather, I am referring to a woman’s natural tendency to care, empathize and in many instances exhibit unconditional love, no matter how much you as a son, husband, brother, nephew, cousin, grandson or just friend, screws up.

Now, you are going to laugh when I tell you what started me thinking about this. My dogs.md5 Seven months ago I assumed “guardianship” of Willow, an eight year old, female great dane. Living alone with my male bearded collie Iago, our house was predominantly a guy’s house. Observing their interaction with each other and with me I realized how much Iago is like my male friends, who would rather be outdoors barking at strangers, digging holes and sleeping , where Willow is like my female friends, concerned about me and wanting to know my next move.

md4When I think back over the years of the  incredible women I have and continue to know, there is this undescribable sense of comfort and security they provide. It’s a natural thing and men just don’t have it to give. I see it all around me, married, single, straight, gay, young and old, men engulfed by a field of this thing that can only described as “mothering”, the good kind.   It can be a mother to a child or even a husband. It can also be a female friend to a male or even another woman.

(FYI. It can also be a female leader over a country or Forbes 100 company. Not to get too political, if ever the United States needed mothering and emotional healing, it would be now. Not to sound sexist, but yes, vote for Hillary because she is a woman. An experienced smart woman. Now is not the time to build fences of paranoia. Protectionism doesn’t bring world peace.)

md3Sorry, I digress. Mother’s Day, right. So here’s my idea. Unlike International Women’s Day, which is a celebration of female achievement, Mother’s Day should be rebranded as a celebration of a woman’s sixth sense, “mothering”.  We should not only include mothers and grandmothers, but also aunts, cousins, sisters, wives, teachers and friends, all whose support we are grateful. They do so, not because they have to, but because they love us.

Thanks Mom.


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