Over 700 seriously needed, licensed long-term care (LTC) beds are going to be in place in York Region.
Mon Sheong, a charitable organization providing programs and services to the elderly, was awarded 768 new long-term care bed licences from the Ministry of Long-Term Care in March. Of which 160 licences will go to Markham, and 288 licences in Richmond Hill.
In addition, Mon Sheong’s 320-bed Stouffville Long-Term Care Centre is on its way to completion. The facility is projected to welcome their first residents this summer. However, shortly after Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) began accepting applications, the number of applications received exceeded 320 and a wait-list of over 1,000 has been created.
The new facility is an utterly inadequate amount to the demand for long-term care service in the region.
According to the LHIN, there are over 30,000 long-term care beds in the GTA with a wait-list of 73,000 people. This means that, on average, there are 2.4 people waiting for one bed. On the list of long-term-care home availability, there are always a wait list of 100 to 500 for every LTC home.
Mon Sheong currently operates 457 beds in three long-term care facilities with a wait-list of over 6,500 people. That is average of 14 people waiting for one bed. The number has tripled within 10 years. On average, wait times are between five to seven years.
These numbers reflect the urgent need for long-term care as the population continues to age.
The Foundation has just announced the plan to build a new senior care campus in Markham. The 160-bed long-term care facility will be located at 36 Apple Creek Blvd., north of Hwy. 7 and Woodbine Avenue intersection. This location will be Mon Sheong’s first long-term care facility in Markham. The campus will also consist of approximate 250 senior apartments and a personal support worker training centre.
Stephanie Wong, CEO of Mon Sheong, said the Foundation has received the full support from the provincial and municipal government to bring more senior care services to those in need during the year-long pandemic.
“We raised the proposal to have the new facility in Markham by October last year. The first challenge is getting the right zoning for the land we planned to build the campus.”
The land issue has been solved on fast track by a Minister Zoning Order (MZO) with full support from Markham council. Ward 2 Coun. Alan Ho confirmed the MZO has been granted in May. He held the virtual public information session on June 23 to inform the Apple Creek neighbourhood.
“It is not a must to hold a public consultation for MZO, but we choose to go for a public announcement. There were approximately 55 attendees, and the feedback is quite good. The neighbours had some concern about the seven-storey building, but overall, they welcome the LTC facility.”
Ho added there were quite a few of emails received after the information session showing the residents look forward to the first Mon Sheong LTC facility in Markham as it is “challenging to secure a LTC bed for parents in the area.”
The Markham campus is anticipated for groundbreaking by autumn of this year. It is expected to go into full operation before 2025.
The Tsang family has been living in Markham for over 20 years. Now the 70-year-old couples are taking care of their 89-year-old mother at home.
“It is not easy. I am an old man taking care of my even older mother who is not physically fit to move around. She needs a LTC bed, and so do I and my wife.” Tsang said.
Mon Sheong has been working on a 10-year plan for building senior care campus in York Region and Scarborough. Stephanie said the senior care campus model provides a continuum of care for seniors, allowing them to age in place and delaying the need for round-the-clock care.
STORY BEHIND THE STORY
Reporter Irene Wong looked at how Mon Sheong, a charitable organization to promote Chinese culture and heritage through caring for the elderly, is expanding desperately needed long-term care options in Markham and Stouffville.
Irene Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Economist & Sun