A million-dollar contribution to Peace Arch Hospital Foundation is a generous act of philanthropy, but for PARC Retirement Living owner Rainer Müller, it’s much more than that – it’s an investment in a whole philosophy of living.
PARC Retirement Living recently donated $1.2 million toward the construction of five new surgical suites at the hospital. The gift is consistent with Müller’s idea that retirement living extends beyond the doors of a residence building. Seniors want, and deserve, to live in healthy, vibrant communities.
“We want to be an active part of that community and contribute by bringing services that really will help seniors and all generations,” said Anna Louie, marketing director at PARC Retirement Living. That can mean supporting arts and culture, medical services, or other community amenities. The idea also includes integrating the residences with their neighbourhoods by incorporating street-level restaurants or retail space into the concept, or opening a residence’s fitness centre to the public.
“It’s not just about the building being a great place to live, but the neighbourhood as well,” Louie said. “We want to give people a sense of purpose and really build that unique, and vibrant living space.”
Previously an architect in Switzerland, Müller’s vision of retirement living comes from his mother’s positive experience. He saw that purpose-designed and built residences can contribute to rewarding and fulfilling lives for seniors. Most of all he saw that inclusion, not isolation, is an important part of healthy retirement living. It’s Müller’s plan to invest $400,000 into the Lower Mainland’s communities where PARC Retirement Living operates. “We partner with not-for-profit organizations or companies providing services that improve the lives of seniors. We also support local theatres, senior centres and the Sarah McLachlan School Music to help develop unserved kids and their music path,” Louie said.
Müller has realized this vision through four PARC Retirement Living residences located in Vancouver, the North Shore and Burnaby, and one opening in White Rock this fall. Each was designed and built with seniors in mind.
In addition to liveable, enjoyable spaces, the buildings include the small touches like electrical outlets higher on the walls so people don’t have to bend down so much, and low steps to get into the shower.
“He wants to build something that’s right,” Louie said. “He’ll never take over a building and then try to turn it into a retirement residence. Everything is carefully planned for seniors.
“It’s nice to have an owner that really cares about what he’s doing.”