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Niverville unveils new state-of-the-art personal-care home

Assisted living, supportive care, and now personal-care 
home provide full aging-in-place services in Niverville

A new state-of-the-art personal-care home unveiled here this summer has caught the attention of at least three other towns in rural Manitoba.

The 80-bed Heritage Life Personal Care Home includes the country’s first special-care 20-bed unit designed specifically for patients with aggressive and overactive Alzheimer’s or suffering from dementia. It’s also the province’s first personal-care home to be funded entirely by the community. And its $13.2-million price tag works out to a cost of just over $150,000 per bed, well below the $400,000-per-bed cost of a government-funded facility.

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That’s caught the attention of others — including officials from Carman and two other towns, said Gordon Daman, volunteer president of Heritage Life Personal Care Home and vice-president of Niverville Heritage Holdings Inc., the non-profit board behind the facility’s construction.

“We recognize that this isn’t just about Niverville,” he said. “This is about the region and indeed the province as a whole. Future builds will likely very strongly consider the model that’s been developed here.”

The new facility adjoins the town’s Heritage Centre, a 36-suite assisted-living and supportive-care residence completed in 2007 and is also tied in with a new primary health-care centre.

The project dates back to 2003 when Niverville’s town council had a growing population with no health-care services and dearth of seniors’ housing.

Although it was the fastest-growing centre in the province, older residents were leaving for places that had seniors’ housing or a hospital.

Losing older citizens isn’t good for any community, said Daman.

“Individuals who realize there won’t be a place for them to live (as they age) in the community will literally begin to start checking out,” Daman said.

That has a ripple effect and affects volunteerism, support for local businesses, and other facets of community life, he said.

“There’s even a trickle down to the next generation.”

So community residents embraced an ‘aging-in-place’ strategy, a vision founded on ensuring there is adequate housing for people in all stages of life. The community raised nearly $2.5 million over 10 years to make both the Heritage Centre and now Heritage Life Personal Care Home a reality.

“There have been a lot of individuals who have given their hard-earned dollars in a very philanthropic way to be able to see this move forward,” Daman said.

Building the new facility next to the Heritage Centre helped to lower construction costs, but local tradespeople also reduced their rates, which saved about 25 per cent on the construction bill.

They were happy to help, Daman said.

“They’ve experienced where family and friends have had to leave the community, too,” he said.

The project initially involved having the community-owned Niverville Heritage Holdings purchase the personal-care home in St. Adolphe and working with the regional health authority and the Manitoba government to develop a plan to replace that 42-bed facility.

The new personal-care home was built in a partnership between the provincial government, Niverville Heritage Holdings, and Southern Health-Sante Sud, with the province agreeing to provide more than $5 million per year in operating funds for the new home.

“This is an important part of the Manitoba government’s plan to build hundreds more personal-care home beds across Manitoba,” Health Minister Theresa Oswald stated in a news release.

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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