New Alzheimer’s unit given thumbs up

With more than 100 people attending the grand-opening ceremony last Wednesday afternoon, the new Alzheimer’s unit at Rainycrest Home for the Aged here has drawn approval from several local residents.
“When the residents have been moved to here, they will have the best ever place to stay,” enthused Sadie Kowalchuk.
“It’s a benefit to Fort Frances,” she added. “Visitors say how great the home is, and this makes it even better. It’s the icing on the cake.”
“I think it’s absolutely gorgeous,” agreed Doreen Kitzul. “I think the dining room is spacious, and everybody can be seated and still see each other.”
“I didn’t expect it to look so nice. Look at all the windows,” echoed Delores Cross, who was on hand for the grand opening along with several other members of the Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary Br. #29.
The auxiliary provided furniture for the new unit’s lounge area, which also features an aquarium donated by the AmOrde family.
Rainycrest administrator Kevin Queen called the $625,000 expansion, which will house 32 special needs patients separately from the home’s other residents, a “beautiful facility” and something long overdue for the district.
“When I started here six years ago, it was common practice to have both residents with and without Alzheimer’s—an integrated home,” he remarked.
“The reality is the cognizant resident isn’t that comfortable with confused residents around.”
Queen stressed the district made the new unit a reality, financially backing it 100 percent.
“We’re looking forward to serving the community better,” he noted. “After all, our residents are the people who built this community and this district.”
Construction on the new wing, which features a separate lounge and dining room, began in the spring of 2001. A full complement of residents are expected to be fully moved into the their new rooms there by Nov. 5.
While the unit was supposed to be open six months ago, both a few construction and staff training delays resulted in the opening being delayed until now.
Queen’s speech was followed by the ribbon-cutting, which was done by Rainycrest board member Larry Armstrong, board chair Alanna Barr, George O. Sturdy, president of the residents’ council, Morley Coun. George Heyens, and La Vallee Reeve Ken McKinnon.
Rainycrest chaplain John Chornabay then gave his blessing to the new unit, followed by Dolly Roach, who leads the Morningstar Circle prayer groups for First Nation residents of Rainycrest.