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Villa Marie will be ready to take all comers

About 50 of the 100 beds at Villa Marie — a new seniors facility in Red Deer — may be available for dementia care when it opens at the end of the year.

In addition to the two specialized dementia units with a total of 24 beds, there will be other areas of the building that will be secured for residents’ safety, said Truman Severson, vice-president for innovation and business development with Covenant Health, on Monday.

“We will be ready for whatever type of resident Alberta Health Services needs us to look after,” Severson said.

“We’re looking to secure potentially 50 per cent of the building.”

Work on the facility, which will allow seniors to age in place without having to move as their care needs increase, began last May in Clearview Ridge on 4.6 acres of land west of 30th Avenue and south of 67th Street.

It is directly south of Clearview Market, a new commercial centre under development.

The province is working with Covenant Health to build the facility in Red Deer, and another one in Calgary, that will be demonstration models for the new concept in care.

Severson said construction of Villa Maria was about 40 per cent complete as of the end of January.

“The framers should be finished all of their work within the next two weeks and some of the work has already started on the interior of the building.

There’s already some insulation and drywall going on.”

Roughing in electrical and mechanical has begun.

Construction should be complete by the end of November.

“We’re presently looking at right after Christmas to begin the admission process.”

Rents for supportive-living residents at the non-profit Covenant Health facility will be about $1,700 per month, including utilities, food, housekeeping and care.

Villa Marie will open about the same time as residents will have to move out of 49 AHS-funded beds at Symphony Senior Living Aspen Ridge, a privately-owned and operated seniors living facility in Red Deer.

Symphony is getting rid of 40 assisted-living beds for dementia patients, four assisted-living beds for non-dementia patients and five transition beds for people coming out of hospital.

Dean Cowan, said his wife, who’s in one of the dementia beds at Symphony, can’t afford to remain at Symphony where only the rich can afford dementia care without AHS funding.

It currently costs the Cowans about $2,200, but that cost will escalate to well over $5,000 without the AHS subsidy, he said.

AHS will be working with families to relocate Symphony residents.

Cowan fears with the waiting list for beds, his wife will likely be moved out of Red Deer and they will have no option but to live in another community until a bed opens up in Red Deer.

“You know how you have that awful feeling,” Cowan said.

Colleen Carpenter, who recently moved her 91-year-old mother out of an AHS assisted-living bed at Symphony, said the province should be doing more to care for its seniors.

“They should be bulldozing Red Deer Nursing Home and building a new facility. They’ve got $16 billion in an Alberta Heritage Trust Fund,” said Carpenter who is now looking after her mother in her home.

“Valley Park Manor was suppose to be converted to a 60-bed transition building. What’s happened to that plan?”



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