Comfort Life - Your guide to retirement & care

A first time painter

We met nine fantastic seniors who continue to live inspiring lives at retirement residences across Canada. Their interests are as unique as their circumstances, requiring flexible and diverse living environments. This is our first pair.

The two unspoken words hanging in the air at the townhouse in Brampton, outside Toronto, where Frances and Lorne Seyler live are “for now.”

Lorne, 81, was driving home from hospital last year with Frances, 72, when they spotted a sign advertising the townhouses at Chartwell Select Greenway Retirement Village.

Before they left, they had agreed to rent a sunshine-bright end townhouse with a huge side yard where their children and grandchildren love to come for barbecues.

What makes it different from a conventional townhouse is that the main Chartwell retirement residence—a welcoming building of warm textures and delightful spaces—is just steps away.

Their rent includes one main meal a day at the residence, but with Lorne, who does all the cooking, getting used to his new kitchen, they mostly eat at home. For now.

“When we moved here, part of the reason was health issues,” says Frances. She has difficulty walking any distance; Lorne has had a heart attack and a stroke, although he seems fighting fit now. In an emergency, a doctor and nurse are available at the press of a button. The couple is switching to the residence doctor because, says Lorne, “Our old doctor is way too busy for us.” There are adjustments. When she was told “the girls” would be in once a week to clean their house, Frances said, “Pardon! What am I supposed to do?” The reply: “Come over here (to the residence) and play with us.”

So that’s what she’s done. Lorne is on the residents’ council; Frances went over to the library at the residence. “There was a painting class going on. I thought, ‘I’ll give it a shot.’”

Lorne is confident that, especially if they add a lift for tackling the stairs to their bedroom, “We can live here to a ripe old age.”

Frances says if she were on her own, she wouldn't be so sure. Moving to the residence would mean getting used to a smaller space, but “I like going over there. I am a pretty social person.”

Lorne and Frances love to show people their attractive new home. The move, says Lorne, “was the best thing.” But, he adds, “It’s not permanent.” It’s just the best thing for now.

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