Upscale retirement life takes place at Living Life on the Avenue
KJ Mullins-Toronto: Luxury is not a word generally thought of when thinking about retirement homes. At Toronto’s Living Life on the Avenue the atmosphere is that of a boutique hotel with an amazing staff.
This week my husband and I were given the chance for a overnight stay at Living Life on the Avenue, located at 1066 Avenue Road (Eglinton & Avenue Road). We knew that the dining would be fantastic, Martin Warnick formerly of Toronto’s Crush Wine Bar is the chef. We were told about the upscale rooms and services but in the back of my mind was the fact that Living Life is a retirement residence. With the youngest resident in their early 80′s I wondered what kind of events and daily activities would take place. The answer is yoga, swimming, nightly movies and fine dining.
What I think of retirement residences has now changed. Gone are the images of dreary hallways of sad seniors replaced with a vibrant home flourishing with life.
General Manager Nick Vesely brings a wealth of experience from his decades at fine hotels. He and his staff have paid attention to every detail of their residences needs, from large railings along the hallways to social activities that stimulate. One example this month is having a night with the Royal Ontario Museum. Staff from the ROM visited Living Life to discuss some of the exhibits in detail.
Before a new resident joins Living Life they undergo a full medical assessment to make sure that their needs can and will be met. The medical assessment is for every new resident, whether they will be staying just a day for respite care or spending years at Living Life. With an in-house nurse at all hours health concerns are addressed quickly. The staff has also been trained in CPR and first aid. Three times a week a physical therapist is on site leading group exercise and taking time to visit residents that would rather have one on one time in their own home. Residents who have added needs are welcome to have personal health aides work with them in their homes.
The rooms have features that reflect the needs of residents. The showers have safety bars, the faucets are easy to operate and the doorways accommodate wheelchairs. The tasteful furniture is easy to stand from with high arms.
Residents enjoy three meals a day in the dining room, which is also open to the public. Lunch and dinner are three courses of some of the finest dining in Toronto. Chef Martin Warnick works wonders with fest ingredients creating gourmet dishes that are healthy. His clients are used to enjoying fine dining and he delivers that on a daily basis. Residents can also request room service if they would rather have a private meal.
What makes Living Life stand out though is the staff. General Manager Nick Vesely is hands on, not locked away in an office, making sure that his residents are having the time of their lives.
Director of Marketing Bev Stroll glows when she talks about the residents. She confided that when she first arrived at Living Life her desk was in the back of her office. She had it moved so she could easily see the residents and be able to have loving conversations with them more often.
While all of the staff is outstanding two stand out, Shane and Sam.
Sam works in the dining room. He is a breath of fresh air, making sure every need is met with a humble smile. Shane was working at the concierge desk the evening my husband and I stayed. His smile lit up the entire room. That smile and his wealth of knowledge about Living Life prompted us to comment as we went out for a bit of air that Living Life would be the perfect place for our parents if they were still alive. It would have also been the perfect location for either of us if we needed a respite because of a short term medical crisis.
In the lower level at Living Life is a sparkling salt water pool just beyond Spa by Woody Michleb. The spa is also thankfully open to the public. Look later in the week to an article dedicated to this wonderful treat in the city.
Living Life is more than a retirement residence, it also offers respite care and hotel rooms. The nightly cost of the respite care is under $130 which is an amazing bargain. All of the respite rooms are on the second floor where the wellness room is located. The rooms feature a kitchenette with microwave and refrigerator, a living room and a beautiful bedroom. The staff has tended to a young family dealing with the loss of a newborn and older guests recovering from surgeries like hip replacement. The peaceful, comfortable setting helps to aid in recovery.
The hotel rooms are slightly larger than respite rooms. They rent for around $190 a night and include all of the same services at residents enjoy.
Residences begin at $3,900 a month for a studio suite. All meals and the countless activities are included in the price. At this time there are available studios and one bedroom suites. There are three two bedroom suites but they are currently rented.