Dunbar Re-Vision

Pacific Arbour President Talks About Seniors | December 1, 2012


We could build a retirement home in a farmer’s field on top of a mountain and it would fill up …” – Peter Gaskill.

In a series of articles written  in May 2012, by Business in Vancouver, in conjunction with a CBC investigation, on the state of seniors care in BC, Mr. Gaskill, President of Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities, explains how the retirement community business has changed in North America. “We told everybody it’s an unending demand … Well, that just wasn’t the case … people didn’t look at the details.”

“In Victoria, the seniors who would move into a retirement home, that demographic is on the decline … there’s fewer of them each year, “ said Gaskill.  “The baby boomers only just hit 65. They don’t move into retirement homes for another 20 years; it’s easy to forget that.”

On a recent talk show interview, Bill Good asks Mr. Gaskill, “Is this an exclusive care home?”  Gaskill explains that residents will pay for the cost of services provided.  He further states that, “we respond to the neighbourhoods that we build in”, meaning that they build to a cost level that the community will bear. He has previously explained that there is no profit in care homes. He will build an independent living residence. But, is this what the community needs?

On the one hand, it would appear that he says expensive, independent seniors residences are less in demand than previously thought, and on the other hand he indicates that he must build 130 units in Dunbar to make his business model profitable. His past remarks seem to be at odds with his current beliefs. We must ask again of Mr. Gaskill, “Do you have the right profit numbers in your proposal?”  Have you looked into the details?

Reading the series of BIV articles captioned the “Grey Area”, it is clear Dunbar, like the rest of the province, needs seniors care homes in contrast to expensive, independent living residences. The effect of this need is brought home in this interview with Rebecca Maurer. She talks about the struggle to find care for her mother in this article. (For those with appropriate browsers, her CBC interview link follows:)

Rebecca Maurer

In spite of this discussion, the Mayor of Vancouver and his Vision council seem blindly interested in all the independent seniors residences that Pacific Arbour can supply (it’s good optics). However, when resources like this neighbourhood’s land are so dear, have we, as a community, carefully weighed our options and considered what is most appropriate for the needs of our aging population?

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  1. My aunt moved into an Independent senior residence in North Vancouver. She had a one bedroom apartment with , no cooking facitlites…and they charged $4500 a month!! The building had a dining area which served dinner between specific hours, no latecomers!. No care was provided. Any care required by a resident that needed it, was something that they had to pay additional for, and arrange themselves. If a resident showed any sign of altzheimers, or illness, they were ” kicked out”! On thr road again, so-to-speak…looking for a facility that would also provide care. So, these Independent Living Seniors residences are quite happ to take the seniors money, $4500 for a one bedroom, provide a meal, but No Care… If a senior can no longer live independently…they are asked to leave and find another facility! These places like to charge an arm and leg, but don’t provide any real benefits or care…..so I would caution any senior looking to go into an Independent Living residence to be aware of what happens when they get sick. From my personal experience with my aunt…she moved out after 6 months, went back to an apartment she had rented for $1400 a month, and could actually afford some care !! Independent Living Residences are just a money grab as far as I can tell.

    Comment by L Gardner — December 2, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

  2. Very interesting – any senior not in a position to afford this type of living and without someone to vocalize their needs is really “out there”, hung out to dry! Senior homes with care provided are the more accommodations required – none of which was in Robertsons campaigning, it is all about cycling – over 3 million dollars to further extend cycling lanes!!! and nine thousand dollars set aside for homeless chickens!
    Go figure.

    Comment by P. Kot — December 11, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

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