Abbeyfield House in Courtenay set to close, displacing 10 residents

Abbeyfield House in Courtenay set to close, displacing 10 residents

A change of designation from independent supportive living to landlord means a Courtenay facility can’t look after residents the same way as in the past. Dean Stoltz reports. 

Ninety-one-year-old Gladys Pollard has been living at Abbeyfield house in Courtenay for 12 years and thought she’d spend the rest of her days there.
“I’d like to see the place go back to what it was, a happy home but it’s not.” said Pollard.
That’s because the residents of all ten units must leave in September, forced to find new homes at their various elderly ages and states of health and age.
“Yeah, I am [being evicted] and I don’t like it. After being here for 12 year,.” added Pollard.
Abbeyfield has 12 independent living residences in B.C. and even more across Canada.
They each have a bed and sitting rooms but common dining rooms are where meals are provided.
The problems began when a new board tried to increase the rent. A resident fought it and it went to arbitration where Abbeyfield lost.
The problem surfaced when it was determined the homes really fall under the Residential Tenancy Act and that has changed what care can be provided.
“And so if a senior has fallen or hurt themselves in their room and they haven’t come out for a meal they can’t just enter the room, they literally have to call an ambulance now.” said Pollard’s granddaughter Cindy Jaquier.
Another example is if a person’s health has deteriorated enough that they should move to a different facility for better care the staff at Abbeyfield can no longer initiate that.
Simply put, the change in designation from independent supportive live to that of a landlord has set a precedent putting all similar facilities in jeopardy.
“The law is no longer set up for this kind of facility anymore.” said Jaquier.
The Chair of the BC Chapter of Abbeyfield Canada Robert Gunn says “Island Health does not have beds or rooms for seniors that get beyond the ability of safe care that Abbeyfield can provide. We just cannot provide 24-hour care, we cannot take meals to people’s rooms, we cannot look after patient’s who are getting higher up the dementia scale.”
Meanwhile, Gladys Pollard has found another place to live, but it will cost over $600 more a month, something she says she can not afford.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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