Mayor wants to explore sustainable living for seniors in wake of Roberta Place tragedy

Looking to homes built to support 'ageing in place'

With the COVID-19 outbreak at Roberta Long Term Care Home in Barrie declared over Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman is wondering how the city can help ensure the health and safety of seniors in the future.

“It’s long past time that we asked that question about ageing in place because I think the model of institutional care that we’ve developed in this province has obviously not served us very well through the pandemic,” Lehman said in an interview with Barrie 360. Long-term care homes are regulated and inspected by the provincial Ministry of Long-Term Care.

As with the movement to more affordable housing, Lehman thinks there are models of new community development where homes are built to support ageing in place, allowing seniors to stay in their own homes longer.

“You know, we’ve done this with affordable housing, where we’ve turned our eye to, how can we design neighborhoods to support more forms of housing that are affordable.”

The outbreak at Roberta Place, fuelled by variants of the original COVID-19 virus, claimed the lives of 70 residents and one essential caregiver over a six-week period. At least one class-action lawsuit has been filed by the family of a resident of the facility.

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