Housing counsellor gives an objective perspective to seniors housing

Suzanne Mondoux. Photo by Glen Gower.

Choosing a retirement home can be an emotional experience for seniors and their families. Stittsville’s Suzanne Mondoux wants to make the process of finding a senior’s residence less stressful for everybody.

Mondoux is a housing counselor with Visavie, a Quebec-based housing advisory service for seniors and their families that helps them select a retirement home. She meets with families to assess their needs, recommends a short list from over 60 accredited homes in the Ottawa area, and shows the facilities to the families.

“I’m there as an advocate, and to champion, and to make sure the right questions are asked and the right questions have been asked,” says Mondoux.

“It’s comparable to a real estate agent. As a housing counsellor, this is a very emotional journey that we take someone through. I’ve seen people cry from the adult children to the seniors themselves,” she says.

“And it’s not always a bad reason. Sometimes it’s relief that ‘finally I’m going to have someone look after me, I’m going to have acceptance’.”

There’s no charge for families to use the service. Visavie earns a commission from retirement homes that that they have a contract with.

Mondoux says there’s a wide variety of homes in Ottawa to match a wide variety of needs.

“It’s finding the geographic area, the financial needs and medical needs as a person progresses. It can range from $2,000/month to $10,000/month. Care-wise, there are differences. Some help with laundry, some don’t. Some do meds administration, some don’t. Some will have cognitive care units, some will have more of a physical care unit, some may have both,” she says.

Canada’s aging demographic is creating new challenges and opportunities for businesses, says Mondoux.

“We’re five team members plus a regional director. We are growing because the need is there. If we work together we can help the seniors in our community,” she says.

Mondoux, originally from Nova Scotia, used to work at a retirement residence as a leasing and marketing manager. She believes there is a need for more retirement residences in the Stittsville/Kanata area.

“Some have higher occupancy than others. That could be due to many things like pricing, or somebody needing a specific care that another doesn’t offer. I do think there can be more, and I think we’ll see focus to more higher-care needs because people are living longer,” she says.

You can reach Mondoux at 613-897-7069 or smondoux@visavie.com.


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