Living the good life

Villa Beausejour residents Clem and Lillian Arseneault sit in the living room in their enlarged suite for couples that was renovated from two adjoining single rooms.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Life for seniors at the Villa Beausejour in Falher is being enhanced with renovations and plans to expand in 2022.
Many adjoining single suites are being renovated to accommodate couples in the lodge, site manager Aline Roy says.
“Some couples separated during the COVID-19 pandemic are now closer together. When the COVID-19 pandemic started 20 months ago, we had some couples separated living in different wings,” she says.
Clem and Lillian Arseneault enjoy life back together in their new home of about 725 square feet.
Singles rooms are 350 square feet, Roy says.
While one suite became the living room, the other suite became a bedroom-den with a door.
“It’s way better with the two rooms,” Clem says.
“We can still have our own room to watch our own TV shows when we want.”
They have a TV in the living room where they can watch their favourite show together or alone.
“It’s the best thing to have the two rooms so we can be together,” Lillian says.
Heart River Housing created four new couples suites in the Villa that was opened in 1972.
“We are adjusting to meet the changing needs of residents,” CAO Lindsay Pratt says.
“It’s about giving people flexibility and options to stay living in their community.
Roy says that’s what attracts local residents.
“Many lodge residents tell us that if they still lived in their homes, they would be so lonely and not be as mentally and physically healthy,” Roy says.
“We want to show people it is not a place to do nothing. We always have things to do here.”
Pratt agrees that seniors are engaged in the Villa.
“This lodge has always been one of our most active lodges and we want to promote that,” Pratt says.
To meet growing demand, a building project is in the works to add 10 units to the lodge that currently has 69 units and 71 residents.
“We’ll start the design phase in early November,” Pratt says.
Construction is scheduled to start in 2022 as plans propose six two-bedroom units and four one-bedroom units in the project as part of the 2020-21 strategic plan for HRH approved in June 2020.
“Our first priority is to give people options,” Pratt says.
“Our needs study shows that the biggest request from seniors is that they want us to build flexible rooms.”
The assessment shows a need for more seniors’ housing in the Smoky River region, specifically for one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.
“Statistics show a major increase in seniors over the next 25 years within the region and across the country,” Pratt says.
HRH proposes funding to come from HRH lodge capital reserves, loans and possibly from the provincial government.
Applications for the new units are being accepted.
Anyone interested in the new units is welcome to talk to Roy at the Villa or contact Pratt by email to lindsay@heartriverhousing.ca.

Plans to expand the Villa Beausejour in Falher are underway as Heart River Housing CAO Lindsay Pratt, left, and Villa site manager Aline Roy, stand on the expansion site on the southeast corner of the lodge.

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