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Haisla Nation Donates $500K to Dementia House

Kitimat Valley Housing Society steps closer to quality care vision
Haisla Chief Crystal Smith hands a $500,000 to Kitimat Valley Housing Society President Fern Fontes for the Kitimat Dementia House Project. Pictured left to right: Cynthia Medeiros, Teena Grant, Marilyn Furlan, chief Crystal Smith, Fern Fontes, Margaret Sanou, Kristen Scrivens, Rob Goffinet and Lucille Harms.

The Haisla Nation has donated $500,000 toward the Kitimat Dementia House Project, giving a big boost to the Kitimat Valley Housing Society’s (KVHS) ongoing fundraising efforts to bring high quality, compassionate care to those living with the condition.

The donation was made at a small ceremony on Haisla Territory Sept. 5, bringing the total amount raised to over $1.75 million.

About 12 people in the Haisla community are currently living with dementia, a particularly cruel condition that knows no boundaries, said Chief Councillor Crystal Smith.

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“The memories fade but the body remains present. Some of us may know someone who has dementia or who is a caregiver; the proposed facility would offer a space that adopts a quality-of-life model. We understand every donation helps, regardless of the amount, and want to do our part in helping the Kitimat Valley Housing Society reach their goal. When we work together, great things can happen.”

The 12-room home will be designed specifically for dementia residents, focusing on a home-like atmosphere rather than an institutional feel. It boasts direct lines of sight from each room to common areas, minimizing hallways to aid navigation. The open-concept kitchen encourages residents to snack at their own leisure and pursue joyful activities. The facility also features a library, a multipurpose room, a visiting salon, and a spa to cater to residents’ varied needs.

READ MORE: Dementia conference a first for Kitimat

The ethos of KVHS revolves around the idea that residents should actively participate in daily tasks, access pertinent information effortlessly, and be pivotal in decision-making concerning their care and daily routine.

“This level of care is seldom found in larger establishments,” said KVHS president Fern Fontes, highlighting the shared will of the Haisla community to treat the elderly with dignity and respect, especially those with such challenging medical conditions. “We have been working on this project for such a long time. To be able to partner with our neighbours, the Haisla Village, where they are so generously giving us such a large donation to be able to build this dream — it’s beyond words when you have the support of a group of people who so strongly believe in what we believe as well.”

KVHS has completed its building plans for the facility but is awaiting a response on their development permit application before they can proceed further.


About the Author: Quinn Bender

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