The three-year old seniors care residence attached to the Fort St. John Hospital, Peace Villa, is full and everywhere local seniors turn, there are waiting lists. Save Our Northern Seniors (SONS) is seeking support for the construction of a third house at Peace Villa, to accommodate at least some of the seniors in our community.
In spite of the various accommodations that have been built for seniors in Fort St. John in recent years, including the Heritage Apartments and Peace Villa, the need is the same as it was ten years ago, according to Jean Leahy of SONS.
“If we have Peace Villa added on to, we want it to accommodate 60 residents, with a day care attached, probably downstairs, and a big room for activities,” said Leahy. The activity currently takes place where the restaurant is, which is far from ideal. “It’s very, very crowded. Some of the seniors don’t go because it is so cramped.”
With approximately 249 seniors on various waiting lists for care around the City, Leahy says they won’t be able to accommodate everyone, but the criteria dictating who can get into Peace Villa is going to be stiffened up, according to Leahy.
“Right now there are 30 people in Peace Villa who don’t need that kind of care,” she said. “But there is no place for them. They have MS or something and can’t walk, and they do need care, but not complex care.”
Not only is the shortage of acute or complex care spaces in Fort St. John putting a strain on seniors, and their families, but by having some of these seniors in beds in the hospital, it takes beds away from sick patients who could otherwise use them. Doctors need to know that they have a place for their patients, and not have them waiting in Emergency.
Leahy said it will likely cost $20-25 million to build the third house at Peace Villa, and take a couple of years to complete. Fortunately, there is plenty of land available next to the hospital for expansion.
SONS will be presenting their case to the Peace River Regional District at its next meeting, and will ask for the PRRD’s support for the immediate construction of the third house at Peace Villa.