Should I stay or should I go?


By Pat Eakins and Janet Sutherland

Housing models for older adults will be the subject of a series of presentations planned to take place at the Abbotsford Seniors Centre during the month of May. Seniors Watch Old Ottawa South (SWOOS), a committee of the Old Ottawa South Community Association, has been looking at innovative housing options, including the consideration of the Abbeyfield model of housing ( in the new tower planned for the west side of Bank at Riverside.

Before we proceed too far along this path, we have planned the following presentations to provide information on various housing models for older adults, from living independently in the community to living in a shared residence with a range of supports.

May 17: Housing options for older adults in Ottawa. Considering your next move? Hoping to age in place or explore alternatives? Housing options for older adults with moderate incomes will be outlined and discussed, using the Council on Aging Housing Guide, checklist and resource list. You are strongly encouraged to review these in advance at: Come with your questions and ready to learn more about what’s available in our community. The speakers are Peggy Edwards and George Hartsgrove, members of the Council on Aging of Ottawa’s Age-Friendly Housing Committee.

May 24: Universal home design. Barbara Steele, DID ARIDO IDC Registered Interior Designer & Chantal Trudel, BA, BID, MSc Associate Professor, School of Industrial Design will present the concept of universal design: how spaces made for the 30-year-old, fully able-bodied you become spaces for you (or anyone!) at any age or level of ability. Your home should be a place where you feel safe and comfortable. What if, over time, it gets harder to live in your home? Are stairs and bathtubs becoming a challenge? Are you having a hard time getting to what you need in the kitchen to make dinner?

May 31: Abbeyfield shared living. JP Melville, director of Abbeyfield Canada, will discuss the Abbeyfield housing model and the evolving nature of the Abbeyfield concept. You will meet someone from a local Abbeyfield residence in Ottawa and hear about a day in the life of a fully operational household. Terrance Hunsley, chair of Abbeyfield Riverside, will provide an update on the development of an Abbeyfield house in Old Ottawa South.

Registration information for all three speakers in the series:

  • The sessions will be held live and on Zoom simultaneously, from 1 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Participation is free but registration is required
  • Registration for all three presentations begins on March 24 at 9 a.m. at the Abbotsford Reception Desk, 950 Bank Street, or by telephone 613-230-5730, or for Abbotsford Centre members, online with your key-tag:

We look forward to sharing information and gathering input to inform the development of housing options for older adults in our community! If you are interested in being involved in this housing initiative or want more information, please contact us at

Pat Eakins and Janet Sutherland are members of the SWOOS Housing Project Team and Abbeyfield Riverside Board of Directors. Janet Sutherland is a Glebe resident and is participating in this initiative as a member of the GCA Health and Social Services Committee.

Graphic credit:
Susana Tort, MIT AgeLab

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