Steering clear of being called a "facility," which Gail Freeman-Campbell considers "The F-Word," a new six-unit seniors living building in Brandon has been classified as more a "home" than anything.
Its exterior at 1323 Eighth St. shows no indication that it’s anything other than that — another home in the neighbourhood.
The privately constructed building falls under the auspices of a new arm of Daughter on Call, a home care business that Freeman-Campbell owns.
The idea for the building had been percolating in Freeman-Campbell’s mind for years and came to fruition when Brad Kirbyson helped fund the construction’s down payment.
His mother, Fay, had long benefited from the Daughter on Call home care service, and he liked the idea of the "home environment" focus.
Although Kirbyson credits Fairview Personal Care Home with taking excellent care of his 73-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, he said the family believed it would be nicer for her to live in a place that feels more like home.
She’s moving into the facility today, joining others who shifted into the building since last week’s grand opening.
"If the home is anything like Daughter on Call has been, we’re very excited about it," Kirbyson said.
An organ has already been set up in the building’s shared space, so the elder Kirbyson will be able to play music to her heart’s content.
The building will also be named after Kirbyson, in recognition of their contribution.
Where most seniors living accommodations receive government funding, the Daughter on Call building did not, with Freeman-Campbell pointing to the conditions that governments impose alongside funding as being something they would prefer to avoid.
"You get a whole lot of rules and regulations that turn it away from a home to a facility," she said, adding that they wanted their residents to retain the freedom to remain as independent as they choose to be.
They wake up when they want to wake up, go to bed whenever they feel the need and are given the opportunity to help out wherever they’d like, including lending a hand in the kitchen.
Freeman-Campbell said this helps residents retain a sense of fitting in, and gives them something to contribute to the household’s blended family.
The building was constructed from the ground up in order to remain as seniors-friendly as possible, with all of the rooms 100 per cent wheelchair accessible.
These six rooms can accommodate as many as 10 people, including couples, and include a bedroom space and a washroom.
One large shared washroom is available for bathing.
Freedom is key, with Freeman-Campbell clarifying that residents call the shots.
If they want something special, like bacon and pancakes on Saturdays, or a tour around the city to see Christmas lights, they get it.
The building is staffed with health-care aides 24-7, with additional service available as per residents’ needs via the Daughter on Call home care service network. These health-care aides wear normal street clothes so as to not impose a hierarchy in the building, and wear pyjamas in the evening to help prevent those residents with various forms of dementia from getting confused.
Freeman-Campbell said she has fielded numerous requests from throughout Westman for similar such buildings to be constructed in various communities, and that she plans to begin following through with these requests.