Supporting Aging in Place in Terrace Bay

Posted on March 15, 2022

On March 3rd 2022, an application has been submitted to the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility’s Inclusive Community Grant Program 2022-23 and should it be successful, it would fund a Coordinator to oversee the development of an Age Friendly Action Plan and to implement recommendations as outlined in Lakehead University’s study for Aging in Place in Terrace Bay.

Supportive Housing Update to Council – July 5 2021
Report to Council

The Township’s Supportive Housing Committee (the “Committee”), as established by Township Council, was tasked with a mandate to: achieve an acceptable level of supportive housing in the Municipality, complimentary to the needs outlined in the Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board’s (TBDSSAB) Housing Strategy. The demographics outlined by the Committee are: seniors, persons with disabilities, and respite care.

For many years, Terrace Bay has been considering ways of supporting members of their community to stay in Terrace Bay as they get older and potentially require more supports. A feasibility study and other initiatives have led Terrace Bay to consider a supportive housing complex. Building a supportive housing complex, however, is a major undertaking along with a considerable financial investment by the township in an era of financial instability due to the reliance on primary resource industry, which makes this potential investment even riskier. Terrace Bay has no shortage of buildings, with many storefronts vacant in the community. Constructing a new building in an era of fiscal instability is a major risk and may not be the best response to an aging population. There are several other alternatives that may provide less risk and be more financially sustainable for the community. However, these options needed to be explored, with a focus on how the community perceives these options and would utilize them.

Therefore, the Township initiated a partnership with Lakehead University to further the primary project objective of determining a feasible model to help support those demographics, allowing residents in need to age-in-place with those relevant services/amenities available.

Lakehead University completed their two-phase study in the fall of last year and presented their final report, Aging in Place in Terrace Bay, to the Supportive Housing Committee early 2021 The Supportive Housing Committee reviewed the document in detail and met to discuss the report’s recommendations to present to council.

Lakehead University Study

Key points in the report related specifically to housing:

The topic of additional housing structures was explored and while many stated that there was a need for seniors’ housing, most were reluctant to admit that they would move into such a place. The majority want to stay in their homes and while they can understand how this is not a long-term option, given the gaps that exist due to a lack of resources and labour in the community, they are still not immediately interested in moving out. Participants were also less likely to be interested or knowledgeable about non-traditional housing arrangements.”

Significant gaps were described related to housing and homes. Addressing these gaps may go a long way in supporting the older population to remain in their own homes. Most people preferred to remain in their own homes as they got older, but there were activities that became more difficult to do, such as cleaning, cooking, maintaining a yard, and light home maintenance. Many participants have not considered the need to purchase some of these services as they got older…”

Really taking into consideration these keys points, along with the many other gaps identified in the detailed study and summary, the Committee believes strongly in continuing to support our aging population by supporting the report’s many recommendations.

The Committee agrees that the suggestion to hire a coordinator specifically dedicated to assist our seniors with aging in place is the best course of action. The individual would be focused on facilitating solutions that would begin bridging the gaps in the services identified, and to re-evaluate the need for supportive housing again in three years, as recommended.