On Trend: Helping people age well is a maturing industry in B.C.

Helping people age well is a maturing industry in B.C.


In April, 23 Canadian women business owners interested in catering to the elderly in Japan travelled there under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Kris Stewart, CEO and clinical director of Advanced Home Care Solutions in Kelowna and Victoria, was one of three from B.C. and the only home-care provider. Stewart says that in retirement homes, a shift toward personal responsibility and social engagement allows the aged to remain more mentally alert and involved in activities. Seniors co-housing is another trend: B.C.’s first such community, Harbourside in Sooke, opened in 2016, and Stewart is exploring establishing an intergenerational co-housing village with a Kelowna developer.


Vancouver-based Element Lifestyle Retirement builds residences that also accommodate younger people. Opal, on King Edward Avenue just east of Cambie Street and expected to open this spring, allows grandkids to stay overnight. At Aquara, near Victoria’s Upper Harbour, and Oasis in Langley, one resident must be at least 65 or 55, respectively, but there’s no age restriction for anyone living with them.


Age-Well, a Canadawide network launched in 2015 to connect researchers, care providers and other parties developing tech solutions to support healthy aging, recently opened its third national national innovation hub, the Digital Health Circle, at SFU‘s Surrey campus. The Canadian Centre for Elder Law, established at UBC in 2003, is a core Age-Well facility.


With 90 percent of Canadian seniors surveyed by the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP) saying they have trouble accessing medical care, one potential solution is telehealth: connecting users to health-care services and medical professionals via the phone, Internet and apps. PocketPills, founded and based in B.C., is a full-service online pharmacy that fills and delivers prescriptions as well as providing consulations.