Valley View Centre: End of an era

Cole Carruthers
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Part three: families divided

Valley View Centre is home to 203 residents and employs close to 500 in the Moose Jaw area.

The announced closure of Valley View Centre (VVC) has left families of residents with divided thoughts and responses about the decision to shut the facility. The Times-Herald spoke with three people who have family members as residents at VVC.

June Avivi is co-chairwoman of the VVC Family Group. Her son David went into VVC as a teen and is now in his 50s.

Avivi hopes the transition process of moving VVC residents to other facilities will be looked at as a future model. “We want a made-in-Saskatchewan kind of program –– take the good we have learned and seen and stay away from the negative,” Avivi said.

One of the major concerns for family members is constant — stress and anxiety their loved ones will fall though the cracks during transition.

“We don’t want what has happened to the mentally ill to happen to the intellectually disabled,” Avivi said. “It is a transition, not a closing; it will be an opportunity to do things they couldn’t do before."

Sandra Hamon’s brother Scott has lived at VVC for over five decades and she is a member of the VVC family advisory committee.

Hamon is apprehensive about Scott's future. “Would I like him to stay in VVC where all of his needs are being met? Yes,” Hamon said, “but, as we've been told, the time has come to close the centre. It's an aging structure. And yes, there are groups who say he will be better off in the community.”

But Hamon says she doesn’t agree with the groups who say the VVC residents will be better off.

“I have over 30 years of experience working with individuals with complex intellectual needs. I foresee many problems ranging from housing to health care. All of these issues could be avoided if a newer, smaller, more home-like centre could be built.

“In the past I have been very vocal in wanting VVC to remain open. The sad fact is that it is closing, whether I like it or not,” she said.

Hamon has the same worries as other staff and family members regarding the uncertain future. “Scott's behaviors and health issues are complex. I have been reassured many times that Scott will be placed in a good, safe environment that will suit his needs ... whatever that turns out to be.

“The transition team that is making those assurances to me and other family members has, in my opinion, the weight of the world on its shoulders. I also believe it is not taking the task set before it lightly,” Hamon said.

Hamon says  the care her brother receives at VVC is second to none.

For more of this story pick up the next issue of the Times-Herald.

Organizations: Valley View Centre, The Times-Herald, VVC Family Group

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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