KAMLOOPS — According to the Alzheimers Society of Canada, half a million Canadians are living with dementia and 25-thousand new cases are diagnosed every year
Stats Canada suggests Centarians are the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population, which means those numbers are only going up.
In order to cope with the increase, Interior Health announced earlier this year it's investing close to 250 additional beds in various care homes around the region.
Fifty of those beds are earmarked for the Hamlets in Westyde, a project which has recently broken ground.
On Wednesday Interior Health, care home workers, and dozens of residents gathered to celebrate the construction kickoff to a 48-bed expansion project at the Hamlets at Westsyde.
The project is part of an Interior Health initiative to provide almost 250 more residential care beds throughout the Interior.
"Our population is aging and the nursing requirements for our population continue to increase and the demands for residential beds are increasing, so it's part of a coordinated strategic plan in terms of what additional beds need to be added to each community within Interior Health," said Margaret Brown, health service administrator for Residential Services in Interior Health West.
"The project will allow the Hamlets to provide more care for those living with dementia as that number has doubled in ten years.
"We started out when we opened in 2007 with one Hamlet which is 28 beds of dementia," said Owner Hendrik Vanryk. "Now we're pushing 65 to 70 residents with dementia."
Vanryk says the addition will feature an indoor and outdoor walking path as well quiet, low-stimulus rooms.
"One of the things dementia residents need is to be active," said Vanryk. "The ability to let them wander and just not be walking to a dead-end cooridor will facilitate them not getting frustrated or not getting agitated."
For 52 year old Ellen Lynn Fischer who has been living with dementia for more than two years, the Hamlets has provided a feeling of safety and home.
"They cook the meals and they do everything for us. it's just a place to stay where I'm safer."
Vanryk and the rest of the staff are looking forward to the completion of the project in late 2018.
"It's good to get it going. It's good to realizee that in a year from now we're going to welcome our first residents into the space and we're excited about improvements we've made to our environment and being able to serve our dementia residents better than we have in the past."
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