© Austin M. Davis
Gladys Pasquet (second from left) makes a point during the smaller-group meeting at the first of two Valley View public information sessions on Wednesday.
The Valley View Centre community meetings used a lot of paper on Wednesday.
According to those in attendance, it was well worth it.
“I didn’t start this process out very supportive of the closure of Valley View,” said Sandra Hamon. “But the more I’m learning, the more I’m encouraged by it.”
Several informational handouts were given out to the more than 50 people that attended the afternoon session. In small groups, people were encouraged to brainstorm concerns and solutions about transferring Valley View Centre’s 189 residents.
“They’re allowing us to come up with some ideas that we have for our own individual family members and I think they’re going to try and help us make that happen.”
Hamon is a member of the Valley View Centre Family Group. Her brother has been a resident of the congregate living facility since it opened in 1955. Though Hamon said he has complex needs and doesn’t understand Valley View Centre is going to close, it was upsetting to the family.
“I wrote letters to the Times-Herald and I was against it. I was very vocal,” Hamon said.
“I’m coming around because I’m very involved in the process.”
Hamon said she’s hopeful her brother — and the other residents — will be moved to a good home.
Valley View Centre (VVC) hasn’t accepted new admissions since 2002. The average age of residents is 59 and the average length of stay is almost 42 years.
VVC employs about 500 people, 300 of whom are full-time-equivalents. A human resources plan is in the early stages.
The provincial government set a four-year window to close VVC, but project lead Terry Hardy said the centre will stay open until all the residents are transferred elsewhere. That’s unlikely to happen before 2016.
“We’re not so much committed to that timeframe as we are to getting it right,” Hardy said. “If it takes a little bit longer, then that’s what we’ll do.”
“We’re not so much committed to that timeframe as we are to getting it right.” Terry Hardy, project lead
He said the goal is to have individual plans for all 189 residents depending on their needs, prior to leaving VVC.
Hardy was the director of the centre for 10 years. He now has the task of moving the last residents out of their home.
“Personally, standing behind each individual and making sure they get the best of what they need as they transition is the most important thing,” Hardy said.
He believes the “person centred planning” is the best method for each resident moving forward.
Gladys Pasquet’s 84-year-old uncle has been at VVC since the doors opened, just like Hamon’s brother.
“He wants to stay home,” Pasquet said after the meeting. “This is home.”
Her family is trying to make the transition as comfortable for him as possible.
“I don’t want to see him spend his last years in agony,” Pasquet said.
She said he’ll probably be transferred to a nursing home. As long as he stays in Moose Jaw, she’s OK with the solution.
The hardest part for Pasquet’s uncle will be leaving the staff and other residents.
“He has quite a few residents that are his buddies and if they take them away from here he might not see those buddies.”
She said one of the ideas she heard during the meeting that she liked is the possibility of letting residents visit with each other after leaving VVC.
“I’m a niece biologically, but this is his family. I really believe that,” Pasquet said.
Austin M. Davis can be reached at 306-691-1258 or follow him on Twitter @theAustinX.