When Lindsay Luhnau graduated from SFU’s Certificate Program for Community Economic Development in 2014, she took home $12,000 from the program’s annual Social Innovation Challenge for her plan for a cooperative which would support seniors to stay in their homes as they age.
Lindsay, teamed up with Marianne Wilkat, past president of the Ogden House Seniors recreation club, to create the Calgary Aging in Place Seniors Co-operative. The co-op is now incorporated and running successfully with 29 members and a business plan that will allow it to continue to grow.
The Calgary Aging in Place Co-operative is designed to help people age gracefully in the comfort of their own homes by providing non-healthcare related services and support. We do that by helping people create passive income through secondary suites, if needed, and connecting them with services such as home maintenance, cleaning, painting, shopping, and more.
There is also a renovation component to both suite and ‘seniorize’ a member’s single family dwelling. Creating a secondary suite can be an income source, and adding senior-friendly features like higher toilet, levered door handles, and even swapping out a bathtub for a sit down shower would improve the functionality of the homeowner’s living quarters.
One home, one renovation, one member at a time, the co-op’s administration team coordinates the process, end-to-end. They also provide the service of helping the member secure a loan if needed for renovation, from a band or through an investment co-operative. The co-op also takes on the role of property manager in screening tenants, collecting rent payments, and making repairs.
-Written by the SFU Certificate Program for Community Economic Development
Published in December 2016