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Creating Common Terminology for Seniors Housing Options in Alberta

Albertans have called for easier-to-understand ways of classifying the different seniors housing options in Alberta.  ASCHA has prepared a report of these findings.

ASCHA is pleased to release its latest report, Creating Common Terminology for Seniors Housing Options in Alberta. The report reflects over two years of engagement with Albertans, seniors-serving organizations, other stakeholder groups, seniors housing providers and subject matter experts in housing and seniors care. 

Navigating seniors housing options is difficult, because there are many different terms and service levels out there. Not only is this an issue, mainstream communications tends to group all the options into one term - “seniors homes."  This often puts seniors housing into the same box at long term care, when the two are very different, especially in terms of the programs, types of services and legislation governing the different environments.

Over 1,000 Albertans informed our initial report, Common Terminology Report: What We Heard 2018 where inconsistencies in terminology were identified, and gaps in understandings were addressed.  Albertans, stakeholders, and the seniors housing sector as a whole called for easier-to-understand navigational terms.

Three navigational categories were proposed, informed through public consultation, and tested with various audiences.  These categories are:
Seniors Housing – Accommodation Only
Seniors Housing with Service Options
Seniors Housing with Service Options and Health Supports

Nearly 600 Albertans responded to our survey, where we solicited feedback on these terms.  Over 80% of respondents felt the terms were easier to understand, and could help in navigating options.

These three categories are not meant to replace technical terms, or legislated terms, but rather serve as an entrance point for seniors and families to have conversations about the type of housing they want or need.

We hope you will find the results of the report insightful, and that you will join us in adopting these navigational categories in your own communications about seniors housing. 

COVID-19 Information for Members

A Quick Reference Guide for Resources and Information

In these unprecedented times, we know that there is a vast array of communications circulating about COVID-19.  Our focus has been to find the most trusted resources and factual information for our members and curate this so that our members can easily find what they need, when they need it.  Below is a summary of how ASCHA has been responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic:

  • Teleconferencing with the Ministry of Alberta Seniors and Housing – We are gathering information and circulating updates and protocols by direct email to the main contacts at our Member Organizations, as well as ALL Lodge providers (whether they are ASCHA members or not).

  • Direct Conversation with Leaders from Alberta Health Services and the Ministry of Alberta Health – We are taking member concerns regarding the care of residents/tenants in their buildings forward on regular calls with Health and Alberta Health Services, and circulating updates and resources directly to our members.

  • Ongoing Member Conversations on ASCHA Connect – This is where our regular members can share best practices, and ask each other questions. We will also be posting relevant information and resource documents here: https://connect.ascha.com/home  Note: ASCHA Connect is for ASCHA Regular Members ONLY.

  • Primary Sources of Information for Everyone - (note, these sites are constantly updated, and we advise you visit them regularly):
    COVID-19 Information for Albertans
    COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool
    COVID-19 Information for Staff and Healthcare Professionals
    Government of Canada COVID-19 Information
    CMHC Coronavirus Updates

  • Member Conferencing - ASCHA hosts calls with its membership once every two weeks using a virtual platform.  Invitations to join these member-only calls will be sent to the primary contacts at our member organizations.

The ASCHA Office is still in fully operational at this time, and we are working hard to support you despite the changing status of this pandemic.  Should members have any questions, or require support, please contact us.  We will continue to update as the situation unfolds.

2020 Community Housing Survey

This summer, we reached out to our members with community housing offerings in their portfolio to collect data about these offerings, and to assess the types of services and supports they require from the association to address their key priorities. The report identified that the biggest issues for community housing providers are inadequate/inefficient funding models, maintaining and repairing existing units, and meeting community demand for affordable options. The full report can be accessed here.

ASCHA's Response to the 2020 Speech From The Throne


The 2020 Speech from The Throne highlighted a strong commitment to affordable housing programs, reiterating that housing is a fundamental human right for all Canadians.  It also emphasized the importance of programs and services to support those in need of affordable housing, ensuring individuals can remain housed as they progress through the housing continuum. 

ASCHA embraces the opportunities presented in this speech to leverage Federal investments and explore partnerships.  We know this would be of benefit to address the very real and growing housing crisis here in Alberta.  The recognition by the Federal Government that housing is a key driver in economic recovery and stability is to be applauded.  Supporting Albertans in maintaining a sense of wellbeing through housing and community services alleviates pressures on a more costly healthcare system, while creating employment opportunities in multiple sectors and industries.

Investment in housing is a key driver of the economy.  Construction projects create jobs and having a home is critical so people can contribute to their communities.  – 2020 Speech from The Throne

 The following are key highlights of the speech, which align to ASCHA’s own advocacy efforts and principled positions: 

  • Increased support for our most vulnerable to ensure they can live in strong and safe communities they can call home
    • Grow essential services in community
    • Expand virtual health care delivery
    • Increase access to mental health resources
  • Partner to accelerate investment in housing – no one should be without a place to call home. This extends to:
    • affordable housing
    • shelters
    • transitional housing

While the commitments outlined in the Speech from The Throne are promising, we do approach them with caution – only because we have heard these promises from our Federal Government before.  Now is the time for action – Albertans are depending on it.  #ItsTime.

Albertans need the Provincial Government to work within the framework outlined in this speech for the common good of all Albertans – particularly those impacted by job loss and the current state of our provincial economy.  As Premier Kenney stated in his response to The Throne Speech, Alberta’s natural resources and Federal support for our energy sector is necessary to safeguard the investments needed in affordable housing and related services. 

We are at an important crossroads in policy development for housing – the support is there Federally and municipally for affordable housing.  Never before have we seen such focus on Canada’s housing crisis, and we now have strategies, opportunities and shared ideas that could transform affordable housing in very real ways. 

We will not see transformation realized if political divisiveness continues.  To accomplish what Alberta needs most right now, it will take all layers of government – regardless of partisan loyalties – working together towards positive outcomes for people.  

ASCHA calls upon the Federal Government, the Government of Alberta, and municipalities to work together to ensure that Albertans have housing that honours their dignity, serves their needs, and inspires purpose in their chosen community.  ASCHA stands ready to work with committed governments and stakeholders to accomplish this!


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