LETHBRIDGE, AB – A new continuing care facility is moving forward on the West Side, specifically in the neighbourhood of Garry Station, that will benefit seniors and families in Lethbridge and the surrounding area.
The province is chipping in $10 million for the 100-unit facility, while Covenant Health who is building the facility, is going to be taking out a mortgage on $16 million which brings the total for the building to $26 million.
In Budget 2018, the province allocated $221 million over five years to increase capacity for continuing care in Lethbridge and across the province. The government’s new continuing care capital grant funding program, Building Communities of Care, focuses on developing continuing care spaces where they are needed most.
The facility will include a mix of designated supportive living spaces, including units with supports for people living with dementia.
Clients will live in home-like suites and have access to supports and services that meet their changing health needs as they age.
Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman made the announcement in Lethbridge at Martha's House on Friday, Mar. 8, and says she’s pleased that seniors will be able to access more continuing care spaces so they can age with dignity while receiving the health services that best meet their needs.
“We’ve been working with Covenant on the details for about a year, and I was so excited that we set the specific site. There was some question about whether we should build another facility on the east side or build our first one on the west side and Covenant proposed that we build this site in Garry Station, and once we ironed the details out, we were excited to come to Lethbridge and share the details.”
This will be a new facility, as there was one that was announced many years ago, that Hoffman says ran into a number of issues throughout that process.
“Once I became the Health Minister and learned about the challenges that existed with that previous project, and we’ve been working with Covenant on the details for this one, we’ve been very happy to move forward. This is a brand-new building for Lethbridge, I think that there were promises made a number of years ago but we’re proud to deliver.”
We all benefit when our seniors are able to remain in their communities, close to friends and family, even as their care needs change.”
When it comes to how the senior population in Lethbridge will be served once this building is built, Hoffman responded bluntly, much better.
“100 spaces is a big investment in Lethbridge, and we’re very proud that there are a number of facilities here, but it’s been almost a decade since a new building was built in Lethbridge for our ageing population,” she continued. “100 spaces is a lot of seniors, and the fact that it’s a level of care where we have a real gap in Lethbridge.”
Hoffman mentioned that most people in the community probably know somebody who is either at home waiting for placement in a supported living facility or a hospital.
“I know it’s not easy during a difficult economic situation to make investments in one another, but it’s these types of investments that are what the next election is all about. Are we going to invest in our communities or are we going to focus on big tax giveaways for corporations? I’m really proud that we’re focusing on making sure we’ve got a really good fair and competitive environment for investment,” Hoffman stated, adding that they’re also taking care of folks that need the government to have their back.
Lethbridge has been identified as a priority area in need of more continuing care spaces for its growing seniors’ population and people with complex health needs.
Covenant Care has started design and development work on the new facility and will continue to engage with the community as the project progresses.
Covenant Health President and CEO Patrick Dumelie says they’re excited to build on their long legacy of health care in Alberta, providing services where they are needed most.
“We work really closely with Alberta Health Services to determine the need, and they have an issue here in Lethbridge where people are waiting in the hospital using valuable acute care resources when they could be cared for much more appropriately in a setting like this.
“Seniors don’t want to be in the hospital if they don’t need to be and the ability for us to move them into a home-like environment where they can get all of their care needs met and socialize in a more appropriate care setting is really important to us,” Dumelie said.
The new continuing care facility is expected to be ready for occupancy in fall 2022.
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