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Benefits Services and Value for seniors in rural communities

A new project is underway at Abigail Ministries that could provide an alternative to urban nursing homes and assisted living for seniors living in Canada.

Until now, a lack of housing options and health support, for those who live in the country, has forced many rural residents into the cities, ending their way of life and connection to rural areas. Rather than uproot the residents and move them into an urban care centre, a program, called the CCS Way, a network of Christian Communities and Services, would bring the city care and facilities to the hamlets across the nation.

Community Care Solutions and Abigail Ministries is a private sector corporation and non-profit  respectively that support grassroots community development in rural communities. CCS Way is a segment of the society dedicated to engaging the community in responding to rural ageing needs.

CCS and Abigail Ministries has created a micro community, CCS Village, within a Hamlet, a small settlement of land located in Georgian Bluffs Township in Grey, Bruce Ontario. This micro community will facilitate affordable comfortable ageing.

At a cost of approximately $1 million, CCS has funded the early stages of engineering, feasibility and development studies. The project is looking for purchasers and financial backers to complete the remaining four homes by 2015. Located on the 2 acres of land are a Host Home, Community Centre, Workshop and two model homes of 500 sq ft to 1060 sq ft priced from $85,000 to $149,999.

Like many innovative business models, we are looking for church communities to come alongside this model and help to expand the Christian message through acts of care.

Future residents could include business owners, farmers, those who wish to use their later years assisting and volunteering in building homes, or caregiving in other countries. This project is for those who wish a rural lifestyle of ageing from age 55 on. We at CCS are redefining ageing.

The CCS concept was designed and shaped by Gail A Acton, who holds a Masters in Social Work, for senior alternatives to care and housing. The joining of rural senior volunteers, church communities, and government to advise and fund this new strategy and overall vision, is an expectation towards shaping senior living, from warehousing and shelving seniors in nursing homes and retirement lodges, towards a vision of seniors as mentors to the young, working to assist younger entrepreneurs in business, creating care facilities and new lifestyle that moves the emphasis of isolation for seniors to contributors in our society into their 90's..

An eclectic mix of farmers, business, entrepreneurs,  government, artists, caregivers, and Christians, highlight the common denominator of CARE for our community and our people.

A workshop, commercial business and office, enterprise centre, crafting space, commercial kitchen, and multi-purpose community gathering and functions space for up to 20 people is located on site close to the Host Home;

• Community gardens;

• A transportation system to reach shopping destinations as well as social and medical trips outside the community;

• Health and Social care will be available via visiting providers, and ensure long term care  and living in place lifestyle for residents;

• Personal and companion care, housekeeping, home maintenance, delivery services and more will be made available via contracts and according to means;

• Fitness and recreation opportunities, education and learning, as well as community involvement, will be stressed to help residents remain active;

Community resources are shared and cost effective management with just in time service management.


All of this is ensconced in the natural beauty of Georgian Bluffs, a Township in southwestern Ontario, Canada in Grey County located between Colpoy's Bay and Owen Sound on Georgian Bay.  The township comprises the communities of Alvanley, Balmy Beach, Benallen, Big Bay, Clavering, Copperkettle, Cruickshank, East Linton, Hogg, Inglis Falls, Jackson, Keady, Kemble, Kilsyth, Lake Charles , Lindenwood, Oxenden, Shallow Lake, Shouldice, Springmount, Squire, Wolseley and Zion.

 The project supports rural values, such as encouraging land stewardship and the appreciation of the environment, with a design that reflects the culture and history of the residents' entrepreneurism.

CCS Village and Abigail Homes attracts a market segment that are 55-plus seniors, either near, semi- or fully retired, living or have lived in a rural area, and prefer a rural setting and a rural area retirement community; do not want to live in a typical urban retirement community, and want to remain within a social network and/or live with like-minded individuals.”

Gail Acton, adds that the low-cost design appeals both to the pocketbooks of residents, and ageing baby boomers, and the desires of rural seniors.

CCS Village is not a typical development, nor is it using a typical development approach. It’s an appropriate housing development not adequately met by the existing market. It values supporting ageing residents within their own community. "What we’ve been focusing on is how to bring economic balance into rural development,” says Acton. CCS Village is planned for land donated by Gail and Ken Acton, who have lived and worked in this area for over 47 years, with business and family, and with the specific purpose of supporting rural living for senior citizens. Acton was heavily involved in the community planning, and developed the Certification and training for PSWs, for Ontario and then created a National Association of Certified Caregivers/Personal Support Workers, the first Volunteer Services Network into Owen Sound, and workplace training for young and old.

Espousing the rural ideal of neighbour helping neighbour, CCS Village and Abigail Homes offer rural seniors a unique option as they grow a little older. It allows long-time residents to remain in their community among supportive friends, neighbours and family as they age and require more support.