New government-funded dementia village to be built

MELBOURNE: A “visionary commitment” by the Ministry of Health will bring a new type of dementia care to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, according to those behind the project.

Known as The Views, the housing project is meant to feel more like a retirement village than a care facility to those suffering from the disease.

“The Views will provide home-like environments and care that enable stronger emotional connections with the people we serve and help address growing needs for the community,” said Fiona Dalton, president and CEO, Providence Health Care and Providence Residential and Community Care.

The facility will have 126 publicly funded beds, including 120 residential care beds, two new hospice beds, and four already publicly funded hospice beds that will move to the new facility from The Views at St. Joseph’s.

Island Health said has identified Golden Life Management Corp. as the successful proponent, following a request for proposals (RFP) to build and operate the new long-term care facility in the Comox Valley.

In addition to the RFP process, Providence Residential and Community Care Society (an entity formed by Providence Health Care), will take ownership of St. Joseph’s on April 1, 2019, and has an agreement to work with Island Health on a potential campus of care redevelopment plan.

The proposed redevelopment would make permanent the 21 temporary residential care beds now in place and add up to 10 net new residential care beds. It would also see the hospice beds now in place converted to respite beds. This is in addition to the replacement of the existing 116 residential care beds at The Views residential care facility.

The care homes offer seniors 24-hour professional supervision and care in a safe and secure environment.

“It’s encouraging to see this work being done to address the growing need for residential care here in the Comox Valley,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “With the addition of these new spaces and services, seniors and people facing complex care needs will have the flexibility and freedom to access the care they need in the community they love.”

The newly-announced project is similar to another recently-announced “dementia village,” located in Langley.

Known as The Village Langley, development will soon house patients with Alzheimers and dementia, and is set to open early this year.

In announcing the project last year, the project’s leader, Elroy Jespersen, said he hopes the project will help shift the paradigm of how elders are cared for and supported in Canada.

“We need to do things differently,” Elroy states on The Village’s website. “There is such a thing as surplus safety: a focus on safety to the detriment of everything else. Purpose, meaningful activities, well-being and fulfillment are often totally neglected, and these matter just as much, if not more.”

Island Heath expects construction on the new Comox Valley facility to begin later this year, with anticipated occupancy as early as 2020.