Vancouver, BC – When a group of Chinese business people heard about a senior who died alone in Chinatown in the 1960’s, they set the wheels in motion for a home where Chinese elders could receive professional care and companionship. It was through their efforts that Villa Cathay Care Home opened in the heart of Vancouver’s Stratchona neighbourhood in 1978. 40 years later, a larger, more modern facility is being built on the same site to provide care to seniors for generations to come.
A 10-storey concrete tower is scheduled to open in the spring of 2019 with an adjoining three-storey low-rise to follow in 2020. Once complete, the new Villa Cathay Care Home will have 224 beds, creating space for 74 more seniors. Of those beds, 192 are publicly funded and the remaining 32 are private-pay. The projected cost is approximately $70 million, with operational funding from the Province through Vancouver Coastal Health and Villa Cathay Care Home Society contributing the land and additional funding.
“The new Villa Cathay Care Home will allow seniors to remain in their community as they age,” says Health Minister Adrian Dix. “The Province and its partners—including Vancouver Coastal Health—are preparing for the care shift by replacing and renovating aging facilities like Villa Cathay with new homes that better meet the complex care and social needs of British Columbians.”
“Government is committed to improving and strengthening services for seniors, especially if the time comes for a loved one to move into residential care,” says Anne Kang, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health for Seniors. “The new Villa Cathay Care Home is a reflection of government working with community partners so our parents and grandparents are cared for in a home-like setting that provides culturally sensitive care.”
The new care home will offer single rooms, double rooms to accommodate couples, private washrooms, more activity space and better access for wheelchairs. Private rooms give residents a sense of autonomy, help make the transition to a new environment easier, and assist in decreasing aggression and agitation for cognitively compromised seniors.
“This neighbourhood design model is considered a best practice in residential care,” says Sarah Jordan, Director of Residential Care, Vancouver Coastal Health. “It enhances residents’ privacy and care while at the same time promoting companionship. For example rather than one large dining room, there will be several smaller dining rooms to accommodate up to 16 residents in a more intimate, family-style setting.” The provision of Chinese culture, food, environment and language will continue to add to the experience of care.
“We are delighted with the commitment from Vancouver Coastal Health that makes the rebuild and expansion of our 40-year-old home possible and we look forward to the continuous partnership in providing quality senior care,” says Szuchi Lee, Executive Director of Villa Cathay Care Home Society. “Our new home will allow us to continue providing person-centered care to meet the holistic needs of 224 residents with comfort, respect and dignity, everything seniors deserve in the place they call home.”
“Caring for our elders is rooted in our culture,” says Lisa Donovan, Chair, Villa Cathay Care Home Society. “My father, Harry Fan, was one of the original board members who helped to build Villa Cathay, so it’s gratifying for him—and all of our Society and our generous donors—to watch the new home take shape.”
This project is part of a larger 10-year rejuvenation strategy for residential care across Vancouver Coastal Health. It follows a rigorous procurement process to replace hundreds of beds in residential care centres that no longer fully meet resident needs. To date, Vancouver Coastal Health has signed agreements for nearly one thousand beds in new and expanded facilities.
Vancouver Coastal Health is responsible for the delivery of $3.3 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including: Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. VCH also provides highly specialized care and services for people throughout BC, and is the province’s hub of health care education and research.
Carrie Stefanson, Public Affairs Leader
Vancouver Coastal Health