Nigel House resident since 1977 looking forward to new digs

Nigel House resident Selina Williams is looking forward to moving into a new building, but she is even more excited about welcoming more people into her family.

Broadmead Care, which owns and operates Nigel House, has launched A New Home for Nigel House, a campaign to raise $3 million toward a new $45-million building that will offer 41 long-term care beds, 10 affordable-housing units and 37 assisted-living units.

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The current home has 26 long-term care beds for people who have suffered a significant disability from a serious accident, a birth anomaly, or a neurological degenerative disease and require a home that provides 24-hour care.

“We care about each other,” said Williams, who has been a resident since the home opened in 1977. “We are a family and I look forward to making new friends.”

While the residents are the glue that holds the community together, the building itself is over 40 years old and beyond repair, with narrow hallways, shared bedrooms and washrooms that are too small to accommodate wheelchairs.

The new Nigel House will be built on land adjacent to the current building on Nigel Avenue near Saanich Municipal Hall. Construction is planned to begin in the new year, with an anticipated opening in 2022.

Nigel House is unique in that it caters to adults, who are often housed in residential-care homes where the average age is 84. Residents get medical and personal care, but also programs and activities that are relevant to people in their 20s through 50s.

“This is an almost hidden demographic,” said Mandy Parker, vice-president of philanthropy and communication at Broadmead Care. “This new purpose-built care home will enhance the residents’ well-being and happiness.”

Funding for the project includes partnerships with Island Health, B.C. Housing, the Capital Regional Hospital District and Broadmead Care Society, which oversees care at Nigel House.

Of the $3-million capital campaign goal, $2.2 million has already been contributed by a number of individuals and organizations.

That leaves $800,000 left to raise, of which $100,000 is needed for two tub rooms with specialized equipment for people with limited mobility, including overhead lifts and therapeutic tubs.

Most residents use wheelchairs or have mobility difficulties, making something as simple as taking a bath a major challenge for staff.

Staff are just as excited about the prospect of new quarters, as some of the equipment they are using is more than 40 years old and beyond its useful life.

But that’s in the future.

All Williams can think of now is Christmas. She is looking forward to a visit from Santa, who looks suspiciously like Rob Richter, her recreational therapist — although he denies it.

Richter, who has thick sideburns, is also known to dress up as Elvis and sing to the residents on occasion. “What stands out is the spirit of the residents of Nigel House,” Richter said. “They care about each other and they advocate for each other.”

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