Ontario’s Ministry of Long-Term Care has awarded peopleCare Communities 160 new long-term care bed licenses for a new home in Tillsonburg.
The announcement was made Jan. 13 by Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care, as part of the government’s $6.4-billion commitment to providing more than 30,000 (net) new beds by 2028 and 28,000 upgraded long-term care beds.
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“Our government has a plan to fix long-term care and a key part of that plan is building modern, safe, and comfortable homes for our seniors,” said Phillips in a media release. “When completed, this new long-term care home in Tillsonburg will provide a safe, modern, comfortable place for residents to call home, near their family and friends.”
Construction is expected to start by spring 2023.
Sheena Campbell, peopleCare’s VP of Communications and Engagement, confirmed in an email that they “have a conditional agreement in place for municipal land and are working with the municipality to finalize site selection.”
“I think the exciting part is that there are various opportunities available to the applicant,” said Mayor Stephen Molnar, “and at this point in time the significant news is that after considerable time networking in support of the applicant, peopleCare Communities, along with the Ministry of Long-Term Care, that the public announcement really ratifies the opportunities and options moving forward.”
“This is great news for Oxford,” said Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman. “This project will help provide a much-needed capacity increase that is so important to Oxford – especially in Tillsonburg, where there is a population of seniors that is much higher than the provincial average. I commend peopleCare for its committed to seeing this project come to fruition.”
There are now 188 new and 100 upgraded long-term care beds currently in development in Oxford.
“We applaud the provincial government for their commitment to providing additional long-term care beds in Oxford County,” said Molnar. “This investment will contribute to better health outcomes and quality of life for the vulnerable in our community, while ultimately benefiting families in the entire region. The Town of Tillsonburg is proud to partner with the Ministry of Long Term Care and peopleCare in a common vision to expand local health care options through a new campus of care in our community.”
“Increasing long-term care capacity where it’s most needed is a top priority for Ontario’s health system so getting the green light to deliver high quality care and services to more seniors in Tillsonburg is wonderful news,” said Brent Gingerich, chairman and CEO, peopleCare on its website. “Thank you, Minister Phillips. Thank you, MPP Hardeman. Your government has shown tremendous leadership in supporting operators throughout this pandemic, continuing to invest in long-term care and enhancing care and supports for Ontario’s aging seniors.”
On their website, Megan Allen-Lamb, president of peopleCare, says the organization will partner in the community to ensure the long-term care home, and eventual care campus, ‘enables seniors to live and age well, and more independently – receiving a range of care, services and community-based health and social supports, all in one place.’
“Integrated senior living campuses promote inclusion and healthy aging, which is incredibly valuable to today’s seniors and their families as their needs change over time,” said Allen-Lamb. “We are very fortunate to have the ongoing support of Mayor Molnar, Tillsonburg Council, Oxford County and other key community partners like Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital, and we look forward to continued engagement to help identify innovative opportunities to address local needs.”
“It has been identified that the need in Tillsonburg, and the quadrant that our community serves, is that we have a higher percentage of aging population than the provincial average,” said Molnar.
The new long-term care home will add appropriate accommodations with the appropriate level of care in out the community, he said, such as other quality facilities like Maple Manor and Woodingford Lodge are already providing.
“When you create capacity, people are being served in the proper environment. And that alleviates pressures in areas – and opportunities in those areas – like at our hospital.
“In a large part, this really is not just about the provision of service by a quality company, but ensuring the opportunity to stay in your own community and remain active in your own community, and have access to some of the amenities, maybe faith-based, and importantly, family, loved ones and neighbours.
“So it’s very, very important and that was always one of the foundational aspects why it was important to increase the number of (long-term) beds in our community.”
The issue of additional long-term care beds was brought forward as a priority action item in Tillsonburg’s 2021 Community Strategic Plan.
“We heard clearly through the Community Strategic Plan process that residents want access to the amenities, services and attractions they require to live balanced lifestyles within the community, especially as they age,” said Tillsonburg Chief Administrative Officer Kyle Pratt on the peopleCare website. “Council and staff have been working on this issue for several years now. It’s exciting to see those advocacy efforts bear fruit. The Town of Tillsonburg is proud of the partnerships developed with the Ministry of Long Term Care and peopleCare over the past three years.
“Residents want to have access to the amenities, services and attractions they require to live balanced lifestyles within the community,” said Pratt.
peopleCare has earned Accreditation Canada – Exemplary Status, as well being designated one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies in senior living care for seven consecutive years. The company also received the single largest research grant from the Ontario Centres of Excellence.
“This investment will contribute to better health outcomes and quality of life for the vulnerable in our community, while ultimately benefiting the entire region,” said Molnar. “It also opens up the possibility for additional partnerships in the future as we look to support local health care delivery through a more comprehensive approach, considering issues like access to training and affordable housing.”
When the new Tillsonburg home opens, peopleCare will be a significant employer in the community and will be collaborating with sector partners to build a workforce of skilled, engaged and caring individuals.
Hundreds of students from many different academic institutions spend time working and learning in peopleCare homes each year.
“We’re committed to continuing to work together, with shared vision and values, for the benefit of an evolving health care system and the citizens of our community,” said Molnar.