Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

New Nigel House will give residents some elbow room

Wendy Hamer enjoys her life at Nigel House, where she has lived for the past 2 1/2 years. One of her specialties is knitting, which she learned from a staff member. “I’ve knitted about 20 tuques in the last year and I’ve been selling them,” she said.
TC_379998_web_copy_VKA-Nigel-620211015113649499.jpg
Wendy Hamer lives at Nigel House in Saanich. The 56-year-old has been living with Parkinson’s disease for about a decade and needs the care that Nigel House offers. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Wendy Hamer enjoys her life at Nigel House, where she has lived for the past 2 1/2 years.

One of her specialties is knitting, which she learned from a staff member.

“I’ve knitted about 20 tuques in the last year and I’ve been selling them,” she said.

Half were sold to care aides, for whom Hamer has kind words. “They’re pretty good to us,” she said. “I enjoy being here.”

The 56-year-old, who was born and raised in Campbell River, has been living with Parkinson’s disease for about a decade and needs the care that Nigel House offers.

The facility, located near the Saanich Municipal Hall, provides its 26 residents with complex care to deal with a range of conditions.

Most residents, who are as young as 19, need assistance with day-to-day activities. Their need to be there can result from such conditions as Parkinson’s, cancer or a stroke, or from a motor-vehicle incident.

Hamer said the physiotherapy she receives helps her with walking, and she has a motorized wheelchair to get to the stores at nearby Uptown, like Wal-Mart. A friend comes by often to take her on outings.

“We all enjoy going out for coffee and whatnot,” she said. “Sometimes we play cards and we read the newspaper. They do bingo.”

Like others, she noted that her wheelchair doesn’t fit well in the narrow hallways at Nigel House.

“It’s too crowded,” Hamer said.

A plan is underway to replace the current Nigel House building, which was built in the 1970s, with a modern complex. Its narrow hallways and washrooms are too small for wheelchairs. A new kitchen will cost $250,000.

Hamer is looking forward to it and can’t wait to see the improvements.

“There will be more room and it won’t be so closed in.”

The Broadmead Care Society, which oversees Nigel House, has been working on a replacement project for six years.

The society’s $3-million New Home for Nigel House Campaign has already brought in $2.5 million, leaving $500,000 more to raise. Peninsula Co-op made a recent $100,000 donation.

Among the amenities planned for the new Nigel House is a fireplace room and lounge to provide a homey, cozy place for residents. At present, the fireplace is tiny and is located off the main lobby.

Ground-breaking at Nigel House, off Vernon Avenue, is slated for this month. The new facility will be built close to the existing one overabout two years and will accommodate 41 residents.

To make a donation, go to givetonigelhouse.com.

jbell@timescolonist.com