Just ahead of celebrating its first anniversary on October 1, the Hygate active senior living retirement community held a grand-opening event last weekend.
Given the pandemic restrictions, it was the first opportunity for the Waterloo venture to welcome potential residents and visitors alike, offering a chance to check out the place.
Hygate, located at 215 Lexington Rd., has 216 suites in its six-storey building that provide three different living options, including fully independent apartments, independent supportive suites, and assisted living.
“The philosophy that we like to go by is, we like to provide as much choice for the resident as possible, both in terms of what type of accommodations they live in and what they do with their day, what options they have available to them,” said operations manager Patrick Brown.
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The apartments are intended for seniors who still want to cook and clean up after themselves, but they will still have the option to access services and activities in the building, explained Brown. The supportive suites are more of a traditional retirement model, with meals and housekeeping provided.
“So people who are still independent, and we want to encourage that independence, but they just kind of don’t feel like cooking, don’t feel like cleaning as much anymore. And then we have our assisted living floor, but it’s not long-term care. It’s for people who just need a little bit of help from our nursing staff on a day-to-day basis,” he explained.
There is a balance between providing the services and having a retirement community feel like an institution, Brown said.
“We want to provide the services, we want to make it accessible, but at the same time, this is a place where people live. We want it to feel like home. We don’t want it to feel like a hospital or a long-term care facility, so we take great care in the design, to be able to have the necessary functionality and the necessary supports, but also have it feel like a place where you actually want to live.”
The assisted living provided by Hygate offers a wide variety of services including 24-hour nursing staff and emergency response, medication administration and weekly housekeeping.
While Brown said “there absolutely is” a negative stigmatism when it comes to living in a retirement community, the industry is trying to change that.
“Certainly, it’s our philosophy. I think you see in the design of the building: it doesn’t look like what you would think of as stereotypical retirement residence, it doesn’t feel like it. There are a lot of companies in the industry that are striving to change that, but I think in particular what we’re really proud of is that this feels like just a beautiful place to live,” he said.
There is massive demand for seniors’ housing, which is where Hygate can come in, Brown said.
“The front edge of the baby boomers are just starting to come into the typical demographic for retirement living. And so yeah, there’s a massive demand…We don’t look at it as, OK, it’s time to slow down, it’s time to relax, we look at it as this is the time where you’ve got freedom. You’ve got time and the resources to enjoy your life. Let us help you do that,” he said.