One in three people over 85 might suffer from dementia by 2024.
To prepare for that future on a local scale, a groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday for Eden Gardens, a 130-bed, publicly-funded care facility for seniors and adults needing round-the-clock care. The care centre will replace the aging 90-bed Nanaimo Traveller’s Lodge building on Nelson Street.
The groundbreaking was hosted at the new facility’s two-hectare site at 1917 Northfield Rd.
The provincial government is financing the $26.2-million project, with Island health to provide $10.4 million in annual operating costs.
The Nanaimo Travellers Lodge Society will build and operate Eden Gardens.
The new centre will allow staff to offer improved programs and living facilities based on the Eden dementia care model, which includes a new design and architectural approach that breaks the facility into six communities, consisting of two neighbourhoods with 11 private rooms with bathroom, plus communal living and dining rooms. Each neighbourhood has outdoor spaces, plus therapy spaces for each community, as well as common areas for visitations. The facility will also offer community daycare and bathing programs.
“The goal is to create an intimate, home-like living experience with small neighbourhoods and communities with space where variety and spontaneity thrive,” said Janeane Coutu, Travellers Lodge Society director.
R.W. Wall construction is the project’s main contractor.
Lynne Morgan, whose husband is currently a Nanaimo Travellers Lodge resident, praised the facility’s staff and is looking forward to construction of the new centre, which is expected to be completed in May 2016.
“It means a world of difference,” Morgan said. “The staff is absolutely fabulous, but they’re working in an old building that doesn’t really meet the needs of the residents and it doesn’t meet the needs of the staff to help the residents. This new facility will provide so much more opportunity for the residents and the staff to provide the quality care that they’re already giving, but it will just help them make it even better. I’m just thrilled about this.”