The new Parkview Place building beside Ferland Park in Vanderhoof slated to open on April 1 will soon be available to seniors in need of affordable housing and to adults for dementia care support.
Parkview Place will be a 28-bed facility with 20 independent living apartments for seniors with low to moderate incomes on the second and third floors of the building.
The first floor will house a holistic dementia care unit called Aurora Home — consisting of eight “memory care suites” for adults living with mild to moderate dementia. It will be the first of its kind in B.C.
Parkview Place Program Manager Julie Lidstone said the goal is to maintain residents’ cognitive ability for as long as possible before they need to transition to a “more complex” level of care.
“There’s nothing else that exists like this right now. There are some dementia homes down south that are similar but they’re not the same as what we’re trying to offer here,” Lidstone said.
“It’s not a facility that people are entering into to be cared for, it’s a home in which they will be supported to maintain their fitness, physical and cognitive abilities.”
The Centre for Technology Adoption for Aging in the North helped research the best types of activities and programs to benefit adults living with dementia.
With those goals in mind, Aurora Home will support residents’ care with circadian rhythm lighting, way-finding lighting, and projection devices where they can do physical and mental wellness activities.
There will be hydroponic gardens for residents to use, and flat screen televisions in each room for scheduling, activities and connection with their community, family and friends.
Lidstone said keeping residents engaged with their community and supported by their loved ones also helps slow the onset of dementia.
Residents can “age in place” and continue to live in their home community with supportive care from staff 24 hours a day. They will be encouraged to help out with meal prep, household tasks and recreational activities — with family and friends invited to participate.
Lidstone said there’s a need to fill the gap between assisted living and long term care. She said in a long term care situation, people with dementia can “decline very rapidly” because they don’t have the stimulation they need.
But assisted living might not be right for that either.
“It’s kind of a gap in between the two… we want to support and get them into our program to catch them downstream instead of upstream,” Lidstone said.
Residents at the dementia care facility first need to be assessed through Northern Health to make sure that it suits their needs in terms of things like personal care and whether they are comfortable living and interacting with others.
She said the Aurora Home won’t meet demand but hopefully it’s the beginning of something that will grow. Another pilot project will happen in Kitimat when this one is complete.
“We need way more beds. But this is a start. This is something,” Lidstone said.
“It should be really nice once it’s all up and running and open. Everything’s in place and it’s almost there.”
The apartments, available to seniors 55 and older, are priced based on each resident’s income.
Tours of the Parkview Place affordable housing and dementia care facilities will happen between March 21 and 24, daily at 9 a.m.
To book a tour you can call Connexus at 250-567-9205.