LETTER: Senior care facility needed

Waiting lists in Summerland are extremely long

Dear Editor:

My husband and I are retired Summerland residents. We want to stay in Summerland as we age so, in the event that we need care, we did some research on Summerland’s senior care facilities including Summerland Seniors Village, Prairie Valley Lodge, Parkside Care Residence and the Parkdale Place Housing Society.

What we found was surprising and it has raised big concerns for us.

Summerland Seniors Village, Prairie Valley Lodge and Parkside Care Residence are privately owned for profit providers of long term health care services. Combined they offer about 275 various sized units and different levels of care including independent living, assisted living and some levels of complex care. Some of the units are publicly subsidized and others are private pay.

The Parkdale Place Housing Society is a non-profit housing association that offers about 160 independent living units. No care is provided but they do offer limited meals and light housekeeping. Similar to the privately owned facilities, the non-profit association has both publicly subsidized and private pay units.

It alarmed us to learn that waiting lists in Summerland are extremely long. They start at two years and go up to seven years depending on the facility and the type of care required.

We also learned that the cost of senior care in Summerland varies greatly by circumstance.

Considerations include the size of unit, level of care required, and the person’s ability to qualify for a government subsidy.

The monthly costs range from $1,500 per month for a publicly subsidized independent living studio unit to over $7,000 per month for complex care.

As bleak as the current situation is, the availability of senior health care in Summerland will continue to get worse as baby boomers enter the system.

Even today, Summerland seniors needing care are often taken to a Penticton hospital room because no other alternative exists. Sadly, even this option is limited as there are currently 20 seniors on the waiting list for a Penticton hospital bed.

But there is hope. Summerland has been given an opportunity to change the situation.

If approved, the age-in-place Banks Crescent senior housing and long term health care facility will provide over 400 new units.

All three levels of care will be made available to every owner or renter right in their very own homes.

The non-profit Saint Elizabeth Healthcare service will provide the on-site care and also make badly needed home care services available to all Summerland seniors regardless of where they live in the community.

There has been much speculation and misinformation about the affordability of the Banks Crescent development. It is planned to be a privately owned facility like many of the existing care facilities in Summerland. The developer understands the market and will price the units competitively.

Summerland is in desperate need of senior housing and care. Please attend the public forum that will take place on Feb. 5 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Arena Banquet Room in Summerland. Please speak up and let council know that Summerland needs the Banks Crescent development. You can find more information at www.summerlandcsi.com.

Marie Gallant

Summerland

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