At its heart, it’s a home

The Covenant family and the Government of Alberta have broken ground at the site of a new Covenant Care supportive living community being built in west Lethbridge.

Scheduled to open in spring 2022, the innovative $26-million facility will address the urgent needs of seniors and people with complex health needs in the area. It will ensure seniors can move out of the hospital and into a supportive living residence where they will receive an appropriate level of care in a warm, nurturing environment.

“Alberta’s government is committed to treating seniors and people with disabilities with the support and respect they deserve,” said Tyler Shandro, minister of health. “Residents of St. Anne’s Haven can look forward to expert, quality care and services, surrounded by loved ones in the same community where they built their lives, raised their families and made friends.” 

When St. Anne’s Haven opens in spring 2022, it will not only meet the needs of seniors in the area but also embrace them in a homelike environment that supports their independence and dignity. Residents will live in their own spaces within the larger environment.

“The fact that we can provide private accommodation for all of our residents, including their own full bathroom and kitchenette, is huge,” says Derrick Bernardo, Covenant Care president. “That just isn’t being done much yet in other provinces.”  

Private bathrooms and kitchenettes give residents a sense of independence, meaning they’re not reliant on facilities outside their suites for basic needs.

The building will include 102 suites divided into three “neighbourhoods.” Each neighbourhood will comprise two “houses” of 17 suites. The aim is to create more intimate cohorts for safety and comfort. For socializing, residents will be able to visit in one of the many common areas.

St. Anne’s Haven will be accessed through a central entry that leads into a main lobby and reception area. Immediately off the lobby will be the chapel, which will feature a large stained-glass window. The lounge and common areas will welcome residents, their families and guests to spend time together socializing or in worship. The spaces will be flexible and expandable so staff can respond to the needs of residents. 

Rendering of the chapel and stained-glass window at St. Anne's Haven

To further support residents with dementia, who will also live in a 17-suite area, small details will act as cues to help them remember how to live their daily lives: uniquely coloured doors will let them know they’ve found their suites, and the bathrooms will be placed in line of sight to the beds to serve as reminders for them.

“We also encourage residents to bring personal items with them to support reminiscence therapy in their home to enhance their memory,” says Derrick.

There will be a focus at St. Anne’s Haven on incorporating advanced technologies to deliver the best resident-centred care. The goal is to use smart devices to transform seniors' care as it relates to activity, mental and physical health, rest, safety and togetherness. 

People living and working in this home will sit together and interact in living rooms and dining rooms rather than around desks. Residents will come and go to the gardens, the social spaces, the chapel and their own suites as they please.  

That sense of connection, security and independence is what the team had in mind when it set out to design St. Anne’s Haven.

Derrick says improvements are continually implemented so that new builds benefit from the latest research as well as input from legacy communities. This project benefited from decades of experience and learning from members of the design team, including clinical staff, architects and members of the community.

“One of the critical success factors in the development of this design was the connection with the people of Lethbridge,” says Derrick. “We all really focused on meeting the needs of the future seniors of St. Anne’s Haven.”

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