Vancouver Island to get its first publicly funded dementia village

Campus planned for Comox encourages independent activity, freedom to move

Vancouver Island’s first publicly funded dementia village — and just the second in BC — is coming to Comox.

The Providence Residential & Community Care (PRCC) Services Society has unveiled a vision for a dementia village at the former St. Joseph’s Hospital.

The concept follows a Dutch model for seniors care, based on the dementia village in De Hogeweyk, Netherlands. The village will support a group of people faced with moderate to severe dementia. The idea, through involvement in everyday things, is to improve a person’s quality of life.

“It’s normal life,” said Jo-Ann Tait, Providence corporate director, seniors care and palliative services. “It has small households of people living together, helping prepare meals, based on their capacity and capability. It has access and freedom to get outside fairly easily, and it brings the community into the care campus.”

PRCC is an entity of Providence Health Care, which takes ownership of St. Joseph’s on April 1. Providence has an agreement to work with Island Health on a campus of care redevelopment plan. The initial focus will be vulnerable seniors, particularly those challenged by dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Dementia is an overall term for a set of symptoms caused by disorders affecting the brain. Symptoms may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language, severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. A person with dementia may also experience changes in mood or behaviour. The number of Canadians living with dementia is expected to nearly double in the next 15 years.

“Often we think, because a person has dementia, that’s it. And we now need to do everything, and that isn’t the case. There’s a lot of ability still left,” Tait said. “Someone who may not be able to cook their entire dinner may still have that distant memory of peeling a potato. And another person can help prepare the meal with help of staff.”

Under the dementia village concept, staff members and volunteers will be focused on the emotional connection with each resident.

“Even if a person loses the ability to speak, the focus of the staff is how to connect with them,” Tait said. “That’s the change. It’s the shift in going from a task-focused, hospital-based structure to one that you and I would be interested in living in if we couldn’t live at home any longer.”

The village model contains a secure outer perimeter whereby residents can leave their homes. The front door gives access to the outdoors.

“The model’s based on giving people the freedom of movement,” Tait said.

Providence will initiate a community consultation process following the April 1 transfer of ownership. The dementia village is one component of the master site plans on the entire 17 acres at St. Joseph’s. At this point, the company is not sure where the village will be constructed. PRCC hopes to house about 150 residents — about the same number as De Hogeweyk.

“For me, it’s about being able to get to know people and the risk that they would want to take, and being able to help them live the life they want to live,” Tait said.

Just Posted

Active transportation plan coming, but it’s already a city priority

Active and sustainable transportation was discussed at e-town hall meeting Thursday

Nanaimo chamber receives B.C. Chamber of Commerce award

Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce lauded for community engagement, night market

Nanaimo residents train in rain at Active for Life Expo

Kettlebell, free running among activities on display at PacficSport VI event at Maffeo Sutton Park

Nanaimo Gem and Mineral Show rocking all weekend

Event being held Saturday and Sunday, May 25-26, at the Legion Branch 256

Nanaimo-Ladysmith students put their robots to the test in competition

High school students problem-solved at VEX robotics tournament this week

Nanaimo kindergarten teacher receives Prime Minister’s award

Departure Bay Eco-School’s Liz McCaw use of experiential learning methods earns her accolade

Nanaimo students press for action on climate change

Strike for Climate was held again Friday; students feel their concerns aren’t being taken seriously

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen found in torched SUV

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72 and living in North Delta, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterey, Calif.

Most Read