Canadians searching for retirement housing in Alberta can thank the Alberta Senior Citizens' Housing Association (ASCHA) for a province-wide, online seniors' housing registry that lists over 90 percent of province's retirement housing projects and provides details on thousands of individual units. The Provincial Seniors Housing Registry includes all types of housing regardless of funding differences and service inclusions, such as provisions for meals, but does not list long-term care facilities since they are regulated by Alberta Health.
"The Registry had over 150,000 hits since the spring of 2000 and that's without advertising," reports Irene Martin, Executive Director of ASCHA and coordinator of the Registry who is aware that it is particularly difficult for family members to help out when they live outside Alberta.
"We have taken calls for a long time which have told us there are people struggling to move their family in Alberta. The Registry combines a database and searchable listings to let people know about waiting lists and residency criteria."
The Housing Registry categorizes housing projects by dividing Alberta into 6 regions. You can search for any type of project in the region or municipality of your choice. Specific details listed for each project include:
- Eligibility criteria
- Pet rules
- The name and contact information for senior management at the managing organization
- Suite types, monthly fees and what is provided in each unit, including whether kettles and microwaves are allowed
- Building amenities and date when last renovated
- Services available
To make this information accessible to even more people, ASCHA publishes an annual print version available for $10.00 plus GST by calling 780-439-6473.
"ASCHA members can live-update online so we have a live searchable directory," stressed Ms. Martin who added another 20 projects to the registry last week and would like to see all of Alberta's projects listed. "Another project that has been developed as a result of our database is working with CMHC [Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation] to prepare a Seniors' Housing Market Survey for the Edmonton and Calgary areas."
ASCHA began development of the Registry to celebrate 1999, the International Year of Older Persons. This nonprofit business organization originally represented nonprofit seniors' housing providers, but now it has members across the housing spectrum that represent more than 17,000 units across the province. ASCHA lobbies government on behalf of members and also works to implement seniors' housing standards that ensure the safety and well being of staff and residents alike.
The Registry may eventually be expanded to include condominiums targeted to the 55+ markets. ASCHA is now busy spreading the word about the Provincial Seniors Housing Registry.