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Spotlight: Comfortable, safe living for every stage of senior life

Retirement living is more affordable than you may think.

The paint is still fresh on Yarmouth Heights, but GEM Health Care Group’s newest seniors’ living residence, which is a wonderful combination of a retirement and an assisted living facility, is already getting positive reviews.

“Happy, wonderfully caring staff” is how one resident puts it; “the food is homemade and excellent and the attention to security gives residents confidence. It’s a happy place to live.”

The assisted living section of the Yarmouth Heights facility caters to residents who want to maintain as much of their independence as possible, but still require a little help performing activities of daily living (ADLs). The second floor of the newly constructed building offers residents a luxurious rental experience and truly highlights the best of retirement living.

Eva Reid, a resident at GEM’s Centennial Villa in Amherst says, “The staff here couldn’t be any better. They are out of this world. I’ve been here since 2012 and I’ve never had anything to complain about. To me, they are exceptional. They are there to take care of even the smallest things.”

Other homes in the GEM family, such as Melville Heights in Halifax, offer bachelor or one- or two-bedroom suites that have a full kitchen in which residents can prepare their own breakfast and lunch and then head to the formal dining room for a social dinner prepared by a master chef.

But homemade meals and private suites are not all of the benefits retirement living offers, according to Samantha Smith, marketing assistant for GEM Health Care Group. Retirement living affords a consistent opportunity for seniors 55 and up to socialize with other community members. Whether you like dance or fitness classes, sporting events and tournaments or if bingo and art classes are more your style, senior living communities have something for everyone.

“Some of our residences include a hair salon, movie theatre, library and computer lounge, licensed pub in the ballroom and a private dining area for special events with close family and friends,” says Smith.

Another great benefit of a retirement residence is no more shoveling snow. Forget the lawnmower and home maintenance issues, seniors are free to spend their time doing the things they love to do — not those they have to do — when they opt for retirement living.

Security is often on the top of the list for seniors. Many retirement communities are gated or have 24-hour security services, so help is never far away. Residents can have peace of mind and simply enjoy life and relax, whether that means golfing, reading, shopping with friends or spending the day at the salon.

Yarmouth Heights administrator, Joy Sison, says the new seniors’ living residence offers seniors “the comfort of home along with the sense of security and friendship that comes from the presence of staff and the company of other residents.”

While retirement residences don’t typically offer on-site health care or assistance with ADLs, Yarmouth Heights and Centennial Villa are the best of both worlds. Other GEM Health Care Group facilities offer long-term care, such as Whitehills and Admiral, its sister facility. These and others in the GEM group offer ongoing care services — either on a long-term (permanent placement) or short-term basis (respite care). As well, many of GEM’s residences are close to health-care facilities, which make it easy to access medical services when necessary.

If spectacular views are a must, many of GEM Health Care’s residences fit the bill. Yarmouth Heights overlooks the Yarmouth Harbour and Melville Heights, for example, offers residents a year-round spectacular view of the Halifax Harbour.

“The wonderful view residents at Yarmouth Heights have is priceless. It reminds many of them of their childhood, growing up in the Yarmouth area. It’s a great place for seniors,” says Sison.

One thing many people may not know, according to Smith, is that retirement living is more affordable than they may think. When you consider the monthly costs of maintaining a home, including such things as a mortgage, property taxes, insurance, expensive utility bills and on-going up-keep costs, and then calculate the money they will save on meals, things like gym memberships and even entertainment and car expenses, independent retirement living is well within most budgets.

For more information, call 902-429-6227 or visit

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