The Village Langley
This recently opened care home takes a different approach to caring for its residents.
After 30 years working in Canada’s private-pay senior home living sector as a senior executive, Elroy Jespersen decided to take everything he’d learned throughout his career to create something different for those living with dementia.
“I was always looking for a better way to do things than the way we were doing it,” says Jespersen, who envisioned a “homey” long-term facility where residents could roam safely about without locked doors or stairs — something he saw as frustrations and dangers to those living with dementia.
After researching other long-term care homes and philosophies, Jespersen found three that inspired his idea of “better,” and, shortly thereafter, launched The Village Langley, which opened in August 2019 in Langley, British Columbia.
“[The staff’s] whole purpose is to make sure that each of these people has a good day, every day."
– Elroy Jespersen
Inspiration number one: person-centred, person-directed care
Among Jespersen’s driving inspirations was the philosophy of international non-profit organization, The Eden Alternative, which is dedicated to quality care for elders through a person-centred, person-directed care and support system. In other words, the “villagers” — as residents are called within The Village — direct staff (a.k.a. “enriched living facilitators”) on how they wish to live their day.
This also means The Village staff must thrive on flexibility, letting villagers rise and eat breakfast when they’d like, for example. Staff members also work to enhance villagers’ quality of life in addition to checking off physical care “To Dos” like feeding, washing and medicating.
“[The staff’s] whole purpose is to make sure that each of these people has a good day, every day,” Jespersen says. “Whatever that means to that person.”
Inspiration number two: communal, cottage-style living
Design-focused inspiration for The Village came from the Green House Project, an initiative throughout the United States that offers small houses for roughly 12 elders to live in together, supported by care aides. Jespersen stressed a similar idea to The Village’s architect, noting small, cottage-style homes were essential, instead of a traditional, large institution holding 40 residents per floor.
The Village has six cozy, single-level homes, each with 12 bedrooms (11 single, one double), along with gathering areas like a kitchen, rec room and backyard patio.
“One of my fears was we’d have this neat place to live but it’d just be like a little nursing home, and we didn’t want that."
– Elroy Jespersen
Of those six homes, two are complex care and four are assisted living — all the same size and design, only staffed differently to accommodate varying needs. The two levels of care enable residents to stay at The Village even if their abilities decline, and not be shuffled to another facility.
Inspiration number three: dynamic gathering places
It was the community gathering concept of Amsterdam’s De Hogeweyk that Jespersen replicated via a Main Street, store and pub for people inside and outside The Village community to congregate (though, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the outside community was no longer allowed in, except for staff members).
Other outdoor elements include meandering paths, gardens, a farmyard and fountains. An eight-foot-high fence encloses the property with shrubs and trees in front, so the site is secure but also naturally guides everyone to a single point of entry and exit: the Community Centre with a staffed welcome desk.
“One of my fears was we’d have this neat place to live but it’d just be like a little nursing home, and we didn’t want that,” Jespersen says.
As the first care home of its kind in Canada, and with more villagers moving in even through the pandemic, it seems this private-pay site is a refreshing option for those seeking long-term care.
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