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Dementia villages wave of the future for long-term care in B.C.

This is a drawing of the soon to open dementia Village in Langley.
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May 29, 2019 - 4:30 PM

KELOWNA - With Canada’s first long term care home dedicated strictly to dementia patients set to open this summer, similar facilities are sure to come to the Interior in the next few years.

Called The Village, the 72-bed complex is scheduled to open in Langley in July. The St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox and Holy Family Residence in the South Vancouver are currently being converted into village-type facilities.

“It’s a change in the way of viewing what a long term care home looks like, on a global level,” Jennifer Stewart, Manager of Advocacy and Education for the Alzheimer Society of B.C., told “This is the conversation that’s happening right now; to shift away from a medical model of care when it comes to working with people with dementia to more of a social model.”

Traditional care homes are focused around nursing stations, she said. For dementia patients, social life is vitally important.

People with dementia – often because of Alzheimers but for other reasons as well – can suffer with the disease for eight to 12 years. For as long as possible, they want to live in their own homes, but once they require institutional care, they may spend the last few years of their lives in what needs to be more of a home than an institution, Stewart explained.

Security, since dementia sufferers are at risk of wandering off, is also of vital importance.

The Langley village is the first in Canada that is purpose built for dementia patients, according to a CTV report.

It has six “cabins” that house about a dozen people each. There are no stairs or elevators. The five-acre site includes a grocery store and a secure perimeter wall with only one entrance.

And they’re not cheap with rent starting at around $7,000 a month.

The dementia villages are modelled after similar facilities in Holland.

Stewart did not know of any immediate plans to bring that model into the Interior, but there is growing interest in shifting the focus of how seniors of all abilities are housed.

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