Angela Kelly, RN, River Crest Estates
On creating a resort-like community, with freedom of choice and options to meet every lifestyle
In our Inspiring Leaders Series, we interview visionaries driven by a passion for excellence that’s manifest in Canada’s most innovative retirement communities.
Thought Leadership in action at River Crest Estates
"The baby boomer or the 50 plus active adult, right now, is looking for a retirement lifestyle, [and] in that lifestyle, they're looking for that adventure, that fun, a resort type setting [where] they will have the option to take advantage of amenities and services as they need them. They will have the option to age gracefully."
In the interview transcribed below, Angela Kelly, RN, incoming director of River Crest Estates, discusses how this community meets and exceeds boomers' expectations. Unique aspects of this community include the variety of housing choices, life equity ownership, and SMART technology specifically adapted to River Crest. Learn how River Crest Estates manifests cutting-edge thought leadership by creating a lifestyle that’s ideally flexible, freeing, and affordable.
How did your career in the industry begin? [0:45]
I joined as an associate director of care of one of the largest long term care homes in Ontario. So, we had 248 beds, and from there a year later, I became the director of nursing. And that was my first introduction into long term care or senior care. From there, I worked five years. At River Crest, I was asked to join as a consultant in 2019, in the fall, and I was approached by the president of River Crest Estates to lead the independent supportive living side of this brand new property. And in January of 2022, I will take on the Director of Operations position for the property of River Crest Estates Active Lifestyle Community.
What has been the biggest trend in the industry in the last five years? [1:35]
So, we know that the baby boomers, one of the biggest generation [is growing older], and in the next 20 years, they're expecting even approximately 65 percent more seniors requiring some sort of housing or community to live in. The baby boomer or the 50 plus active adult, right now, is looking for a retirement lifestyle, not a retirement home.
So in that lifestyle, they're looking for that adventure, that fun, a resort type setting, which is what we are trying to offer here at River Crest Estates. In that resort type setting, they will have the option to take advantage of amenities and services as they need them. They will have the option to age gracefully. And in that setting, we're offering a variety of options as far as ownership, leasing, life equity … Sizes of units is important. So, again, if we compare to where we're at in retirement and long term care, typically [you have] about three to maybe 400 square feet of living space. Our property's offering 640 square feet, up to 1500 square feet of living space.
The life equity component [presents an] investment opportunity ... There's opportunity there for people to make sound investments in real estate.
The other [challenge] that I'm seeing over the years is the continuity of your caregiver. Another piece that has been a big challenge both in the home community as well as in retirement and in long term care, is not having that rapport or that connection with that caregiver, when they're requiring support for their activities of daily living.
So, I think as a baby boomer, myself, what I would be looking for, and [with] the amount of information that I have available to me, I am going to be much more proactive about planning what my retirement lifestyle is going to look like, versus just being pushed into a crisis situation.
How does River Crest appeal to aging baby boomers? [4:00]
The level of care is going to be supported through services without that burden on the caregiver. [There’s] more of a community support [and] family camaraderie. [There] might be two women that have spouses that are now disabled, and those two women can’t go for their walks together. But now they're living in this community, and now they can go to their walks, and their spouses are still having supports within the community and they're not worried about something happening. [We’re going to have] many options within one community, to offer to different people.
So [for example], the cohousing idea is very big in Toronto right now. It’s moving down to this area [Niagara]. [In this] you might have widows that can no longer stay in their family home, or it's too big or it's lonely, and they're just not managing as well in that family home. And they get together with three of the girlfriends and they live in a larger home and they share all of those expenses. Now they go down to one car, or they pool for groceries or, you know, they all have their separate area, but they have that ability to have a common area where they meet or they eat together or they do different activities together.
So that's the friendship suites idea, that co-housing opportunity within [River Crest], where you could have a larger unit and have a common area that's shared and two separate areas, where [you have] your personal living space, your bedroom, your bathroom and your sitting area, with a common area that's a kitchen/living area, that is shared with another resident.
In fact, in the US, there's a number of these communities that are already well-established that have the same concepts of aging in place, [with] this cohousing idea and this idea of this retirement lifestyle all within one community. And all of the amenities are close by. Even services such as trips [are an option], and people can sign up for those trips and they go as a group. Car services [for example]. You don't need a car. They'll be a limousine service, a concierge, that sort of higher end, five-star-hotel-like concept, but in a living community.
River Crest is offering a multitude of opportunities with respect to purchasing, owner-occupied investment, life equity, or even leasing. On the financial side, there's still opportunity there for people to make sound investments in real estate, which [of course] is proven time and time [again] to be a good investment.
What has been the biggest breakthrough in technology at River Crest Estates? [6:40]
There will be a number of SMART devices available for our consumer. Again, the 50 plus age group is very tech supportive, they’re very techie and they're getting into that technology... Google Home and Alexa and all of those devices. Right now, we’re working with a provider for a SMART watch that monitors health as well as health promotion.
So, we'll be monitoring key health markers, as well as health promotion and wellness, [as well as] keyless entry. [This is a] watch that opens your door, allows you access to your property. Just like your Apple Watch, you can pay for things and services with it. So [that technology] will also be a piece that will set us apart from others, putting [River Crest] more on a trendy, upscale end of retirement lifestyle.
What is the biggest forthcoming innovation at River Crest Estates? [7:58]
I think it's around the technology piece. We're already working with a supplier on this watch idea. The watch will be capable of having more apps added to it. So it will morph in time, to being quite unique and appropriate for the time, as things change.
I think the other piece is the other properties that are coming on board. There's some excitement [in] what's going to be there, what will be offered with respect to those other properties. So the variety of all of that.
I think the other unique piece is the life equity component of River Crest. So, although the trends are showing that 50 plus [adults are] looking to lease, there are some that are still looking for investment opportunities, and this idea of life equity. So, River Crest is offering a multitude of opportunities with respect to purchasing, owner-occupied investment, life equity, or even leasing. So, on the financial side, there's still opportunity there for people to make sound investments in real estate, which [of course] is proven time and time [again] to be a good investment, and we're seeing that more and more these days with what's happening in real estate.
So, life equity [means] that they would become a shareholder in the corporation. And they would be given earnings … Once all net operating expenses [are cleared], whatever's left over, they would be paid a certain amount per share. [That would again] fund more of the lifestyle that they're looking for.
What’s unique about River Crest? [10:08]
The attraction in the Niagara area is price point for one, what you can get for your dollar. River Crest Estates is offering a location that is centrally located in the southern end of Niagara Falls, across from a beautiful park, as well as surrounded by numerous restaurants and activities such as golf courses. [It’s a] calming area, as far as less traffic The amenities that the area has to offer is quite attractive to the Torontonian that's coming in, or [someone from any] larger city that's coming down to the area.
What does the future of senior look like? [11:00]
I think choice. The consumer will have choice, and [they will] have the opportunity to plan what that lifestyle will look like. They're not just going to be pigeonholed into what's available or having to wait for something that they want.
More about River Crest Estates
River Crest Estates, an active adult lifestyle community opening in 2022, brings to market all that makes this lifestyle appealing. Learn all about River Crest Estates.