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Tsawwassen Seniors Find New Home At The Wexford

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One of the realities for many seniors who leave their empty nest is that they move away from the place they’ve called home all their lives.

Developer Century Group, along with Bria Communities, is hoping to alleviate that problem in Tsawwassen with the creation of The Wexford, a seniors living facility at 18th Avenue and 56th Street.

“People love Tsawwassen and they don’t want to leave, right? They don’t,” says Rosanne Philbrook, manager of The Wexford. “My husband’s from Tsawwassen, he’s lived here 40 odd years. He’s lived here all his life, his mom and dad have lived here all that time and there’s nowhere else he’s going to live. And I think people who’ve lived in Tsawwassen for a long time think like that. They don’t want to go anywhere else.”

Rosanne is the former recreation manager for The Waterford and has worked in seniors health care for 20 years. The Wexford is similar to The Waterford in many ways, including rates, included meals, a continental breakfast, light housekeeping and all inclusive activities.
When it opens in April, 2016, it will be part of an exciting new multi use complex that includes nearby townhomes with a shared courtyard and the Northgate development that will have retail and office spaces.

“So it’s going to have that kind of multigenerational feel, a little bit more of its own community within a block,” says Rosanne, adding the backyard of The Wexford will look onto a park where children can play.

Rosanne says her mandate is to ensure seniors are still connected to the community, as she does for those who live at The Waterford.

“This is going to be neat because it’s going to be standalone, the community is going to be built in. I’m going to be trying to connect the townhomes and the families with the seniors and try and do some open house events when it opens so they can come and see how vibrant and lively the seniors really are. That there isn’t that stigma.”

Rosanne says the seniors in Tsawwassen are amazingly active, going to social outings and volunteering in the community. The Waterford has daily fitness classes, Tai Chi instructors on the weekends and yoga once a week to keep seniors fit and healthy.

Even in the extended care unit there is a walking loop with markers to tell seniors how far they’ve walked. They can even use those markers to contribute to the annual Terry Fox Run without leaving The Waterford.

“We have a very highly driven calendar from resident feedback here where they tell us what they want to do and we make sure it happens. I think that kind of thing is where I can kind of fulfill the wishes of the seniors.”

Rosanne says many residents at The Waterford are people who lived and worked in South Delta for most of their lives. In fact, she says the other day a Langley woman showed up to inquire about availability. She had lived in Tsawwassen for 25 years but moved away to be closer to her children. When her husband passed she wanted to come “back home.”

“So she took a taxi for $120 from Langley to here. She’s been staying at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn, eating at Brown’s Socialhouse and going to the White Spot and seeing all her old friends. Getting her hair done at the old hairdressers.”

Incredibly, despite the two year wait list, there happened to be a room opening up. She jumped on the opportunity right away.

“She said, ‘this is it, I’m moving back, I’m coming back to Tsawwassen. It’s where all my memories are with my husband. It’s where I want to be.’ As she was leaving she said, ‘well, I better make some phone calls, tell my kids I’m moving,’” says Rosanne laughing.

There are many spaces available at The Wexford but potential residents had better hurry.
“It’s a high need, right? We have a lot of seniors and not a lot of places so I guess the assumption is it’s already full,” she says. “We do like [seniors] to age in place and stay as long as possible. And we do have the care floor within The Waterford that [Wexford residents] will have a first right to go on that waiting list.”

Rosanne says some people don’t look that “far down the road” but it’s a nice comfort for families to know that once seniors lose their ability to be completely independent there are other options. She notes the Waterford often has several Centenarians in their extended care wing at any one time.

The Wexford will be well situated in the community, right next to the Coast Tsawwassen Inn and Browns Socialhouse, across from the art gallery and the South Delta Rec Centre. And of course there’s also Tsawwassen Mills, a new mall with dozens of new stores coming to the First Nations territory nearby.

“If you’re a very active senior you’re going to be close to the highway, you’re going to be able to come and go still, and there will be the new mall to take a trip over to.”

The Wexford will also have a bus which can transport seniors to venues and shopping. But many of those decisions will ultimately come from the seniors themselves, adds Rosanne.
“That’s one reason why I thought I was a good fit for the new building. Because I live here, I want it to be successful. I want to have a place for the seniors to go that they’re proud of and happy to live in. Right? Because I’m part of this community as well.”

For more information about The Wexford visit briacommunities.ca.

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