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Seniors + Healthy Aging

Eldercare Foundation’s $1 million gift supports life-changing model of care for Com­ox’s seniors and older adults

by St. Paul's Foundation


Imagine if, after decades of relishing your daily habits, you suddenly have to shift gears and dutifully follow a strange routine in a place with little choice or adaptation to your needs. This is the reality for many seniors after they move into long-term care: they find themselves in an institutional environment without any of the home-like anchors they’ve enjoyed all their lives.

A massive change is on the horizon.

Providence Living at The Views, opening this summer in the Comox Valley, is Canada’s first public, non-profit, long-term care village that is being built based on the concepts of dementia village as well as Providence Living’s Home for Us care model. It’s ready to flip the script on what it means to live in long-term care, with the help of a $1 million contribution from Eldercare Foundation.

Providence’s inspiring and groundbreaking care model will offer residents independence, social connections, and everyday activities that give their lives joy and purpose.

The 156-resident care village will be a true home for seniors – a place that recognizes residents as individuals with unique interests.

Rendering of the dining area at Providence Living at The Views and one of the aspects loved by the Eldercare Foundation
Dining area at The Views

“It’s a human-centred approach focused on the needs of residents,” says Tom Arnold, executive director of Eldercare Foundation. “It’s not just about providing great medical care. It’s about providing a sense of home, emotional bonds, and opportunities for seniors to continue to exercise authorship in their own lives even as their abilities diminish. That’s why Eldercare Foundation is excited to be a partner with Providence Living.”

Helping seniors age with dignity

In 2021, for the first time, BC had just over one million people aged 65 and older – about 20% of the province’s population.

As an organization dedicated to helping seniors age with dignity, Eldercare Foundation understands the many challenges older adults on Vancouver Island face, whether at home or in long-term care. For over four decades, they’ve provided community services to seniors and older adults to help them stay at home as long as possible, and helped residents in long-term care with innovative equipment, technology, and programming.

Providence Living at The Views’ mission to address key issues like physical well-being, coordination of care, social isolation, and loneliness, inspired Eldercare to make a $1 million gift of support. 

“We’re here to support solutions. We believe that Providence Living at The Views is exactly the kind of new idea that’s needed and will result in improved quality of life for seniors,” says Arnold. “It’s an important step in the evolution of care at a critical time to meet the challenges of our aging population.”

An exciting, transformative model of care

In addition to a growing senior population, the type of care residents require is also changing. Because medical advances have allowed people to live longer, many seniors are coping with the complexities that come with aging – including a greater risk of conditions like dementia, heart disease, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and sensory impairments.

This means that residents entering long-term care today, and in the future, will require more complex, multidisciplinary care than ever before.

Enter the Home for Us social-relational model of care: Incorporating best practices from around the world, Providence Living and Providence Health Care created a made-in-BC model of long-term care that is person-driven rather than institutional.

Graphic explaining the Home for Us model a key component of why the Eldercare Foundation gave to Providence Living at The Views
Key principles of the Home for Us model of care

Providence Living at The Views is organized into 13 households, each configured to accommodate up to 12 residents in private suites, where residents have their own bedroom and private bathroom. Each household has common areas like a kitchen and lounge, where residents can bond over everyday activities.

It includes amenities like a grocery store, café, community centre, gardens, and places for spiritual worship. Residents will be able to move freely throughout the care village and choose what they’d like to do each day.

The village will also feature a first-of-its-kind Indigenous sacred gathering space designed by the local First Nation and intended for Indigenous staff, residents, and families to honour their traditions.

Eldercare Foundation is hopeful that the care village will propel change in the landscape of seniors care.

“This is an opportunity for more seniors in the Comox Valley to have access to people-centred care, while also creating a model of care that could influence other homes across BC and allow thousands of seniors across the province to improve their quality of life,” Arnold says. “The sense of community that’s going to happen will make a huge difference. That’s really meaningful to us.”

Backed and proven by research

Studies show that maintaining a sense of independence and purpose plays a vital role in active, healthy aging.

The Eldercare Foundation’s donation was also motivated by a first-of-its-kind research study of the care village, which will assess its impact on residents, families, and staff. The evaluation, led by the Centre for Advancing Health Outcomes, will look specifically at the two main components of the village project: the new Home for Us model of care and its physical environment.

The five-year research evaluation is currently in its second year. It began with resident and staff journey mapping to help determine what is needed to create change, as well as household pilots in Comox and Vancouver to test the Home for Us model.

Providence Living is refining processes, collecting real-time data, and gaining valuable knowledge from the development of the villages. Once Providence at The Views opens, further learnings will provide the insights to build more person-centred care villages across the province and beyond – as well as how the model could be implemented in existing homes.

“When it comes to moving the needle towards positive change, in our 40 years of experience we’ve seen that research is vital,” says Arnold. “Good ideas come and go, but good ideas backed up by research create new paradigms of care. If the research that’s being done into Home for Us shows that it’s effective at improving quality of life for seniors and in reducing or defraying costs for the health care system, then there’s no way that this won’t get adopted elsewhere.”

Providence Living at The Views is ready to change the culture of long-term care. Together, we are working toward a future where communities around the world will be empowered to provide care that puts residents first. But we can’t do it alone. Please join us as we transform long-term care and the lives of seniors in BC and beyond.