This past week, the campaign was launched to raise the necessary funds to open the new Pineview Home for Prince Albert. This building, under construction just west of the Victoria Hospital, will add some much needed space for long-term care in our city. But your help is needed to finish the job.
A few weeks ago, I was asked to help out with some of the publicity writing for this campaign, and while I couldn’t be there for the full campaign (having to earn a living really cuts into community activities), I did learn a lot more about the needs and objectives of long-term care in our area through being involved.
The need is great. Looking at national or provincial statistics tells us that the number of seniors is growing as first the parents of the baby boomers, and then the boomers themselves, move into retirement. With good health, we would all want to stay independent and in our own homes as long as possible; nevertheless, the day often comes when a higher level of care is needed. Right now, there are not enough spaces to meet the need. Looking ahead, there will be even more pressure on the health-care system.
As a part of that boomer generation, it is a reality I face. Talks with friends who are, or have been, dealing with the care of aging parents brings out a common frustration of battles to find a space when needed, coupled with the emotion of acknowledging the inevitable progress of time and ultimately, mortality. As one person dealing with her mom’s illness said, “Sometimes, being a grownup sucks.” Absolutely.
Looking at local statistics, the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region estimates that at any given time, there are about 50-60 people waiting for placement in a long-term care setting. This wait affects not only the individual, but family members who are struggling to care for their loved one at home, or in combination with respite care. All the love in the world cannot provide adequate care for someone who has progressed to a high care level, however; specialized equipment, accessible accommodations, and trained personnel are needed. This is what a long-term care home can give.
Along with these folks waiting for a placement, there are seniors who are in homes, but outside the city. Our health region stretches a long way, and when an opening comes in a smaller community home, the offer will be made to the next person on the list. The offer may be accepted, although reluctantly, knowing that it will be difficult or impossible for family to visit. These are the individuals and families who want and need a spot in Prince Albert.
The present Pineview Terrace Lodge, located on 13th Street West, has served our city well. Built in the early 1960s, it was designed for a time when thoughts on aging were different from today. The halls and doorways are narrow compared to beds and equipment used now. While staff are regularly complimented for their care and adaptation to the surroundings they work within, the building has done 50 years of service and needs replacement.
The new Pineview will give a better sense of home as compared to long-term care designs of the past. Newly designed care homes have gone away from the institutional, hospital-like feel, opting instead for smaller units that are more like houses, or homes, with central service areas. The thought behind this design is known as the Eden Concept, and is already in place in some local facilities such as the Mont St. Joseph Home and the Shellbrook special-care home. The philosophy seeks to offer as many comforts of home, and as much freedom to residents in their lives, as possible while also meeting their health-care needs.
Of course, a building design is only one small part of making that happen. As current Pineview Terrace Lodge resident Doris Town said in the Herald last week, it’s the staff members who make the residents feel welcome and cared for and that will continue in the new home.
Right now, Prince Albert’s long-term care homes are filled to capacity. The need for the new Pineview is great. When the building – funded through provincial and local tax contributions – is ready next summer, the residents of the present Pineview home will move in. A few added spaces will be available, and undoubtedly, quickly filled.
Before the new home can open, however, it needs to be furnished. This is the objective of the fundraising campaign now on. Taxes have paid for the building, but the community needs to pay for the things inside that will make it a home: beds, couches, chairs, TVs, and all the little extras.
Trevor Dutchak is heading up the committee which is looking to raise close to $1 million. The opportunity to donate has been set up in levels, from corporate-sized with names inscribed on rooms or sections, to individual-sized donation “bricks” that will build up the total. For more information on how to donate, you can visit the website at www.pineviewfamilyanewhome.com, email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 306-765-6361. Committee members would be happy to talk to individuals, service groups, or companies interested in how they can help.
I encourage you to take a look at the drawings on the website, read about the concept, and consider donating. Prince Albert has a history of rising to the challenge when volunteers and funds are needs, and I know we can do so this time, too.
Barb Gustafson is a lifelong resident of Prince Albert and a former managing editor and publisher of the Prince Albert Daily Herald. Email: email@example.com