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Plans forging ahead for publicly-funded dementia village in Comox

Last Updated Jun 14, 2020 at 6:18 pm PDT

(Courtesy Providence Living)
Summary

The Views in Comox will be the first publicly-funded dementia village in B.C., possibly in Canada

Seniors will have safe access to the outdoors, community gardens, a bistro, and even a chapel

COMOX (NEWS 1130) — Construction starts next year on a unique housing project for Vancouver Island seniors vulnerable to the devastating effects of pandemics like COVID-19.

Jane Murphy, the President and CEO of Providence Living, says the new long-term care home will go up at the former site of St. Joseph’s General Hospital and, once completed, The Views in Comox will be the first publicly-funded dementia village in B.C. –possibly in Canada.

“To provide a wonderful quality of life for the individuals that will live in this home, for their loved ones who will visit them and also for the staff who will assist them to live their lives,” she explains.

She says the model is based on a similar village in Europe with occupants having their own rooms and bathrooms.

“De Hogeweyk in the Netherlands where the residents who live there can engage in activities of daily living, meaningful to them, that bring comfort and joy to them. So really a wonderful opportunity to provide as much choice and autonomy for residents as possible.”

At a time when a global pandemic is making everyone rethink how we care for the elderly, Murphy says the redevelopment of the existing care home in that location is already happening.

“Including supporting window visits and music concerts that are outside, but residents are inside, so they can enjoy those. We also have some of the amenities you would see in the dementia village, such as a children’s daycare onsite, our thrift shop that will be opening next week. There’s really a sense of a bustling, thriving community of which our residents are a part of.”

She explains now more than ever, this type of housing is needed, so seniors will have safe access to the outdoors, community gardens, a bistro, and even a chapel.

“The physical design and also, the approach to care. Both of those have the ability to reduce the risk of infection which we’ve learned from COVID-19 is important.”

When it opens in three or four years, Murphy says this dementia village will be home to to 156 people and the Island Health Authority will cover most funding.

“However, we will be looking for support from the community in a variety of ways and we’ll be reaching out in due course and we’re very fortunate to have had a very generous community in the Comox Valley and elsewhere that have expressed interest in this project and we will be looking for their support.”

Murphy adds, to date, no cases of COVID-19 have been recorded at The Views or any other long-term care homes on Vancouver Island and she hopes some programs –which had to be suspended because of the virus– can safely resume soon.

That includes one involving children regularly engaging with seniors during the school year.