It’s a new approach to aging, just five minutes out of Saskatoon.
Touted as “living with one foot in the country and the other in the city,” the village of Crossmount is completely dedicated to Saskatchewan seniors aged 55 years and older.
“What we’re doing is developing a whole new community where seniors are living with their peers,” Crossmount developer Duncan McKercher said.
It’s a place where age is just a number and for Mckercher it’s a health project with a housing component involving active seniors.
“Seniors are living longer, they’re healthier, and they’re more engaged,” McKercher added.
Phyllis Barber, 67, and her husband were some of the first senior citizens to build a home at Crossmount two years ago, after the couple decided it was a nice compromise.
“Where we picked our spot, we can look out and we have a pasture behind us and it’s got horses in it sometimes and it just feels like we’re still on the acreage and it’s really country/rural feeling and we didn’t want to move back into town.”
At this point, they may never have to with both health and supportive services provided on-site.
“Our main driver out here is – people age and they age gracefully in their home. Just because they have medical issues, some medical problems whatever they are, our mandate first and foremost is for people to be facilitated in their homes,” McKercher said.
“It’s not rocket science, it’s not revolutionary – it’s common sense. Most people would like to stay together and prefer to stay in their home.”
The site also features a wellness centre, coffee shop and cider company, all enjoyed by the 30 residents who live at Crossmount, where the population will eventually be capped at 1,250 older adults.
It’s open to the public as well as family, friends and grandchildren of the homeowners, whose homes were specially designed for seniors.
Each home is on one level, every room is wheelchair accessible and even the exterior lights will flash in the event of an emergency so paramedics can find a home in a timely fashion.
The entire village is also believed to be one of the first of its kind in Canada.
“We’re land extensive, we’re park extensive – it basically boils down to fresh air and sunshine,” McKercher said.
“You can’t do this in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver because land costs are so high.”
So just how costly is it to retire in this kind of style?
“This is not a site for the rich, it’s not a site for the wealthy,” McKercher stated.
Right now, seniors can choose from four different-sized homes but by next year potential residents will have more options, including smaller homes at a lower price point.
“We will not jeopardize specs to reduce price, we just won’t do that. What we can do is build smaller homes.”
McKercher is working on ways to accommodate seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia because he says it’s the very least he can do for the pioneers of this province.
‘It’s not what people need, it’s what they deserve.”
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