Seniors residence celebrates grand opening

Gerda Klanke can now visit her husband without driving all the way to Rocky Mountain House.

Gerda Klanke can now visit her husband without driving all the way to Rocky Mountain House.

Sybren Klanke, 80, moved into Covenant Care’s brand new Villa Marie in Red Deer in February after spending a year in a Rocky continuing care facility.

“I always needed somebody to go with me. I can drive, but I can’t drive long distance because of my health,” said Gerda Klanke, 78, of Red Deer, at the grand opening of Villa Marie on Friday afternoon.

She said her husband was becoming abusive towards her when they lived together in Red Deer and was eventually diagnosed with dementia.

“All of a sudden he got really paranoid at home and he couldn’t find anything anymore. He could not talk anymore.”

At first she was worried that returning to Red Deer could be difficult on her husband because he was kind of settled at the Rocky facility.

But his secure 12-bed dementia ward at Villa Marie is very bright with plenty of space to walk, which was always one of his favourite activities, she said.

“Personally I’m quite happy with it,” Gerda said.

The 100-bed Villa Marie, located at 10 Carrington Drive, opened in January with 24 supportive living Level 4 beds for people with dementia, and 76 regular supportive living Level 4 care beds, including six one-bedroom suites for couples.

Level 4 is one level below long-term care, which is the highest care level for seniors.

The $30-million facility was one of two built by Covenant Care touted as a new model of care where seniors could age in place without having to move as their care needs change.

Villa Marie, which is being run as a supportive living facility, opened about a month before the Calgary facility.

“We’re really proud of not only the facility, but the innovation that comes with the facility,” said Patrick Dumelie, president and CEO of Covenant Care.

“As (residents’) care needs increase, we’re able to change the care plan and not the location of care. That’s the real beauty of this facility. We don’t want to displace residents and have them cut off from their community, from their friends, from their caregivers, from their family,” Dumelie said.

He said residents were able to move in quickly because jobs were filled right away. The culture of innovation at Villa Marie likely appealed to workers.

“It’s hard on residents to move from facility to facility. It’s also hard on caregivers because they develop a real bond with residents,” Dumelie said.

Kerry Bales, chief zone officer with Alberta Health Services Central Zone, said 21 of the Villa Marie residents were transitioned from Symphony Senior Living Aspen Ridge after that facility eliminated its AHS-funded beds.

“That was a little bit unfortunate in the sense that probably utilized some of the capacity here quicker than we had hoped,” Bales said.

Shirley Thomas, Central Alberta Council on Aging vice-president, said the council is hearing there is bigger need for long-term care beds rather than the supportive living facilities that the province prefers to have built these days.

She said two years ago it was announced that Villa Marie would provide all levels of senior care, including long-term care.

“What they have delivered is a far cry from what was presented at that time,” Thomas said.

Just Posted

Red Deer’s osprey cam celebrities are back

FortisAlberta has webcam set up at nest created as part of avian protection program

Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run introduces Community Diaper Dash

Central Albertans will make a dash in diapers to bring lunches to… Continue reading

Several Red Deer businesses’ phone/fax lines taken over by ‘spoofers’

Same ‘prank’ calls were made as happened with RedCliff RCMP

School council association wants funding review

Funding needed to build more Red Deer schools

Opinion: Schools can’t be exempt from scrutiny

This weekend’s meeting of the Alberta School Councils’ Association promises to be… Continue reading

Bishop now the Stars goalie trying to beat Blues in playoffs

Ben Bishop grew up rooting for the St. Louis Blues before being… Continue reading

Nashville gets its chance to step up for NFL draft

NASHVILLE — Broadway in downtown Nashville is as lively a place as… Continue reading

The Cranberries, still in mourning, return for the last time

NEW YORK — Whether or not there would be a final Cranberries’… Continue reading

Dance studio owner in dispute with Burton Cummings fined for noise ticket

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — The owner of a dance fitness studio who… Continue reading

Gardening: Time and effort key to buying garden plants

Greenhouses, garden centers and box stores are set to start selling bedding… Continue reading

Montreal native Nicholas Latifi off to solid start on Formula 2 race circuit

Practice makes perfect for Canadian Nicholas Latifi. The 23-year-old Montreal auto racer… Continue reading

Bruins victory over Leafs ensures an American team will hoist the Stanley Cup

TORONTO — Many NHL players were either not yet born or too… Continue reading

Most Read