Assessment shows Sylvan needs seniors housing

A Community Needs Assessment Study shows Sylvan Lake will need to take a look at what sorts of seniors housing are available as the community grows.

A Community Needs Assessment Study shows Sylvan Lake will need to take a look at what sorts of seniors housing are available as the community grows.

Mayor Susan Samson said seniors housing was among the “hot spots” that were identified in the $35,000 study that was presented to town council on Monday night.

“I think we’ll be going back to the (town’s Community and Social Development Department) to see what we can do.”

Marlene Curtis, the town’s Community and Social Development Director, said the information in the study will be shared with the rest of the community, including the Family and Community Support Services Board.

“We will see some requests to probably enhance some of the services, for example home support,” predicted Curtis.

Two years a home support program was begun and that will likely need to be expanded, she said.

The study prepared by Calgary’s HarGroup Management Consultants Ltd. was designed to reveal why residents use community services and what issues are important to them with the goal of helping with long-term planning. It does not make any recommendations.

Questionnaires were mailed out to more than 4,600 residences in the town and nearby areas including summer villages. There were 862 questionnaires completed, including 638 from town residents.

On the question of seniors housing, 557 were asked if available options were adequate in Sylvan Lake. Sixty-per cent strongly or somewhat disagreed. Only five per cent strongly agreed.

Of those currently thinking about or already looking for seniors housing, nearly 70 per cent said the best option would be to stay in Sylvan Lake and area.

Residents were also polled about how well they effectively cope with life’s challenges. Sixty-two per cent said they able to cope “about right” but 34 per cent would like to do more. Top challenges to cope with were: physical inactivity, too much stress, not being able to save for retirement, lack of sleep and too much debt.

The study also looked at transportation needs, volunteering and access to community programs and services.

Eighty-seven per cent of residents felt a sense of community in Sylvan Lake and 94 per cent felt safe there.

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