By Lethbridge Herald on January 21, 2022.
Herald photo by Al Beeber The Green Acres Foundation says it is ready for ready to meet housing needs as the population of senior citizens is growing faster in Lethbridge than anywhere else in the province.
Al Beeber – Lethbridge Herald
The population of senior citizens is growing faster in Lethbridge than anywhere else in the province and the Green Acres Foundation is ready for their future housing needs, the Cultural and Standing Policy Committee of Lethbridge City Council was told Thursday.
Chief Executive Officer Dawna Coslovi gave the SPC a detailed report about the foundation which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year.
The foundation is a not-for-profit organization which has been providing affordable housing and services to seniors since 1960.
Green Acres is a local-born and bred organization, Coslovi said.
The foundation has more than 400 employees, 22 different sites, and a lot of people don’t realize it has sites all over southern Alberta, she said.
“Seniors housing has evolved. Back in 1960 when we were first established, a senior that was 67, 68, that was really a senior. Nowadays, our average age is about 85 so times have changed. People are more independent, people are living longer, they are healthier which is terrific. But the need for seniors housing has not changed,” she said.
“Back 61 years ago, the province determined there was a need for seniors housing,” Coslovi said, adding the government of the day thought “lets take a look at this seniors housing in the province and Lethbridge was very fortunate in that we were chosen for one of the very first lodges established in the province. And that was built at the location right adjacent to the Galt Museum. It’s no longer there, we did take it down and we rebuilt Pemmican Lodge on the same land in 1999. But that was our humble beginnings,” she said.
After starting with 30 units, Green Acres now provides housing for a thousand seniors while offering different levels of care, she said.
That care includes apartments for seniors who are independent and can take care of their own needs. Green Acres provides them with subsidized housing while taking care of maintenance, snow shovelling and lawn care.
Green Acres operates lodges where people are still independent but get some assistance including weekly housekeeping services, meal service and have full-time activity co-ordinators or rec therapists “so that the residents can have activities that fulfill their spiritual, their physical, their mental needs,” Coslovi said.
In 1999, the foundation partnered with Alberta Health Services to fill the gap between independent living and long-term care with facilities which offer 24-hour care and others which have professional nursing on site. Other sites are secure for people with such afflictions as dementia.
“We have every level of care for our seniors but we know that the seniors population in Lethbridge is growing faster than the province. So one of the things that this board at Green Acres is very passionate about is to ensure that going forward into the future, we have the housing benefits for this community,” Coslovi added.
The foundation recently purchased a convent building on 18 St. S. and is converting it into seniors apartments with some funding help from the city’s affordable housing grant, she said.
“We’re really looking forward to that and although it looks the same on the outside right now, there’s a lot going on inside. By summertime, we’ll be able to roll that one out. We are also again very proactive at purchasing land so that we are ready for the future. We’re here for the city, we want to be here for the city so we do have land now secured on the westside, southside and also on the northside for the future needs of this community,” she said.
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