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President’s Message

  A Note From the President of Solterra Co-housing

Real Estate Services

BungalowI am a Broker of Record of my own real estate company, Solterra Realty Inc, Brokerage. I offer services in residential & commercial sales in and around the Muskoka area. I am passionate about educating my clients and providing suitable services to their needs. I am able to discount listing commissions based on the services I provide. I don’t have the overhead or the stress of a large brokerage house, and I love it!

I offer seniors the options of HomeSharing or renting out a room to a tenant. This will help them stay in their homes as long as possible. We will help with the application, the selection process, the rental agreement, and the ongoing management of the home. This ensures both parties are safe and no abuse transpires between either party.


 Buying or Selling a Home?

If you are considering selling or if you are a new buyer in the community, I am happy to help find the perfect house for your needs. I blog about BUYING & SELLING issues, what you should do, and what you should watch for. My client appreciation program offers a great incentive to pass on my name to your friends and family members.


Shared homeownership

In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. When her health started to decline, her care—and her share of the household responsibilities—fell to my father, who was quickly overwhelmed with the added burden. As a self-employed wife and mother of two, the only solution that made sense for my still mostly independent parents, was for me to move in with them. Committing 3-5 days per week, I worked with them until we could resolve the health care and housing issues. But it took a toll, on me, our relationship, and my family. I was no longer their loving daughter, but their stressed and overworked caregiver.

Though I loved my parents dearly, I used to tell my brother and sister that I was the caregiver by geography; not by choice.

In 2009, when Mom’s Alzheimer’s had progressed past my ability to care for her, we made the heart-wrenching decision to have her admitted to a long-term care facility. It was the single hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and it’s still hard to talk about, all these years later. This decision, however, left my dad alone in his home, and after 59 years of marriage that was not something he was prepared to do.

And so, the Solterra Concept was born, with Dad as the first shared owner. After he moved into the new shared home with three other seniors and staff, I was able to visit as his daughter again. I still helped him with some of his day to day banking and explanations of things, but he was back in control of his daily activities. And he was happy. The ‘House Mom, as we call her, was there to help with any daily living issues or questions.

My father lived in his Solterra home for three and a half years. He was happier in this environment—living with three other seniors, home-cooked meals, and help with daily living—then he had been living alone.

In his shared home, Dad and the other co-owners had 53 hours of care going into the home weekly. The House Mom assisted them with weekly shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and they developed a system for medication reminders. The best part? My dad was responsible for a quarter of the costs of these services.

solterra_pic-elderlyDad was able to give up his car (thank goodness) because the House Mom could drive him anywhere he wanted to go for a small mileage charge. Together the group organized weekly activities outside the home and soon united as a family. These unrelated people looked after one another and cared about one another. It was wonderful and moving to see them all flourish in this environment and rediscover their love of life.
In the end, my dad lived in his shared home until the last fourteen days of his life. When his health declined and he required ongoing medication and nursing care, he was hospitalized and after a short stay, passed away—still in control of his life, wishes, and finances.

The Solterra Concept works, and I would recommend this solution for any independent senior who needs a little support, but isn’t ready for a traditional retirement home. This is the perfect solution for someone who is lonely, but still financially independent and determined to keep doing it their own way!


Support Services for our Shared homes

Our sister company, Solterra In-home Support Services Ltd provides the support services needed for any one of our shared homes including services directly into the community. I was able to develop this company mirroring my grandmother’s business of 50 years in the GTA, “Active Home Services” which was the largest brokerage providing homemaking care in the Toronto and area.

Each shared home decides the level of care needed and the services provided on a monthly basis. Services are increased or decreased based on the changes within the home.


Referrals

I welcome all referrals and my niche market of shared homeownership and shared housing demonstrates my expertise in this market. Furthermore, I am dedicated to finding my clients the right option for their housing needs. I promise to do my best and provide the services you need with integrity you require.

~ Shelley Raymond, President