Monday was the official opening of the new dementia unit at the Garden Home in Charlottetown.
The nursing home's new wing will allow 11 residents to come live there, says Kristina Butler, the facility's operations manager.
This will give stability and comfort for people with dementia, Butler said, and staff are excited to finally be able to provide this particular type of care.
"You can't see it but I'm smiling very big because I have a mask on," Butler said. "It's been a lot of peoples' dreams here … this has been the direction that they've wanted to go for a very long time."
She said there's been a need for a unit like this and to be able to provide it is an extraordinary feeling.
"Being able to give people who are currently in the QEH a home that's not in the hospital is very very exciting," she said. "They can start just living again, basically. Not that they can't in the hospital, but it's just different."
Butler said they wanted to create a space that is inviting and welcoming to friends and family.
"They can have dinner and breakfast and lunch with people and friends," she said. "There's just a little bit more freedom associated with what we're going to do."
'I'm glad he's here'
Diane Farris's brother is the first resident in the Garden Home's dementia unit. She's very happy that he's found a home after leaving another home and staying in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for a time.
"It was worrisome, but, like I say, it's a lot more comfortable here by the looks of it," she said. "I think he's going to be quite happy here."
The thought that he'll be cared for in a place where he's comfortable puts her at ease.
"It's better for me. I won't have to worry about it all the time," she said, holding back tears. "I'm glad he's here."
Farris said she'd like to have him in Prince County, but if nothing opens up then she'll make do travelling back and forth to Charlottetown to visit.
"I know I'm happy that he's here. It's taken a lot of weight off my shoulders, knowing that he's going to be happy. He's going to be well looked after and I'm just thankful for it."
Officials with Health PEI said that as of May 1, 17 individuals with a dementia diagnosis were in hospital awaiting a space in long-term care.
They added that these 11 new beds will go a long way to reducing wait times for the rest.
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