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New Nigel House promises to make life better for complex-care community

After decades of service, the venerable Nigel House building is well past its prime — it’s too small, too cramped and in need of costly repairs.
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Resident Alex Anderson with house dog Finley at Nigel House in Saanich. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

A brain injury sustained in 2008 changed Alex Anderson’s life, but the community he shares at Nigel House keeps him happy and engaged — with a specialized staff always at hand.

The 54-year-old’s injury came from being struck by a vehicle.

He has lived in other places, but said Nigel House — where he has been for four years — is the best one.

Others who call the complex-care facility home have issues ranging from neurological conditions to genetic disorders that make daily support a necessity.

But after decades of service, the venerable Nigel House building is well past its prime — it’s too small, too cramped and in need of costly repairs.

For some residents, the lack of exercise space limits their rehabilitation routine on-site. Those in wheelchairs move around in narrow hallways not designed for such use.

Anderson would benefit from a larger activity room where he can enjoy playing cards and games.

Cribbage is his specialty, and trivia isn’t far behind, said activity co-ordinator Roslyn Yelland.

“Alex loves trivia,” she said. “He’s very good.”

The solution to all of the centre’s shortcomings is taking shape right next door, where a new, purpose-built Nigel House is going up — complete with an expanded activity room for all to enjoy.

Anderson, typing into a computer to share his thoughts, said he likes to watch the work going on just a short distance away, and to see the progress being made on the place he will eventually move to.

Ground-breaking for the bigger, better Nigel House was in October 2021, and the grand opening is projected for April 2025.

The $45-million replacement will be six storeys as compared to the current two, and will house 41 complex-care residents — up from the 26 there now.

Along with that, there will be 37 assisted-living units and 10 units of affordable housing.

The public has already shown it recognizes the need for the project by contributing to a successful $3-million fundraising campaign run by the Broadmead Care Society, owner and operator of Nigel House.

Fundraising efforts are continuing with another campaign, this one to generate $1.4 million for equipment and furnishings that will help to make the new Nigel House complete.

Those include therapeutic items, custom-designed beds, communication devices and many other things that will add to residents’ comfort and safety.

Anderson and his friends could also use a new bus for outings, since the 20-year-old vehicle they have now keeps breaking down, Yelland said.

She said Anderson always enjoys being out and about.

“We go out on walks, we go to the breakwater, we’ve gone to concerts, all sorts of different things.”

The immediate surroundings are good for outings, as well, with the Lochside Regional Trail and other greenspace right there.

Saanich Plaza and the Uptown shopping centre are also close by.

For more information or to donate, go to broadmeadcare.com/nigel-house-donations.

jbell@timescolonist.com