Investing in seniors

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December 3, 2015 2:56 PM

The folks down at Sellers RV Centre made a $100,000 cheque donation to the Pioneer Lodge to go toward the facility's expansion project. From left: General manager Chris Bettcher and soon-to-be owner Sarah Sellers of Sellers RV Centre.

A seniors care home in Lloydminster recently got a generous donation courtesy of one of the city’s local businesses.
With an expansion project in the works for the Pioneer Lodge, the people at Sellers RV Centre thought it would be a good time to invest and made a cheque donation for $100,000. 
“We had our eyes set in helping out someway and this opportunity came up so we thought this was the right time to do it,” said Rod Sellers, owner of Sellers RV Centre.
Sellers and his wife have had both sets of their parents go through the care system in some way, so the Pioneer Lodge expansion project is of especial interest to them.
Having dealt with some of the struggles involved in having family in care homes, the Sellers’ know first-hand some of the inadequacies there are in the system.
Sellers’ mother-in-law is still in the system and one of the major flaws her son sees involves the waiting lists for spaces to open up.
“The waiting lists at all levels of seniors care in Lloydminster are tremendously long,” he said.
“The level of care that this new effort at the Pioneer Lodge is going to take care of is where the biggest need is in our community. “
As former president of the Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care Society (LCCSCS), Sellers has been advocating for seniors’ care for a decade.
With wait lists on all levels of care averaging about two years, Sellers has always known he wanted to help out in some way and donating to the Pioneer Lodge expansion was the perfect opportunity.
The wait lists are particularly troublesome, he said, because when all the beds in town are full, seniors in need of care may have no choice but to move to a different city where there is space available.
This can cause them to be separated from loved ones and also makes it much harder for family and friends to visit.
“We had to be very creative to avoid that situation and we managed, but the sad part was with my parents, in order to keep them in Lloyd and not have one or both sent out of Lloyd, we had to agree to let them both be put into the dementia ward in the Dr. Cooke,” said Sellers.
Neither of his parents had dementia, putting them in another undesirable situation. He said it was a rough time because no matter how hard he tried to find a suitable place for his family, he couldn’t find a facility in town designed for their needs.
It was also this situation that got him to really start advocating for seniors care.
Although Lloydminster has always been short of care beds, with the amount of people in need always out numbering the amount of space available, the expansion of the Pioneer Lodge will take some needed pressure off the system.
There will be more than 40 new beds in town and Sellers said if another 50 could somehow be added on top of that, Lloydminster would be up to par, at least for the time being.
“The population is going to grow, it doesn’t answer questions 10 years down the road, but we would be a lot closer to where we need to be today.”
One suggestion Sellers has would be to renovate a vacant wing at the Dr. Cooke Extended Care Centre.
He said the wing is sitting empty and would be relatively cheap to fix up, but the government hasn’t moved to take advantage of the situation
There are a few issues that would need to be addressed before it would be usable but he said it would be less expensive and time consuming than building a new facility.
The most recent care centre to open in Lloydminster took more than 10 years to get to fruition, according to Sellers’ estimates, and if those are the timelines the city will always be looking at, then there are going to be some tough times for people in need of seniors care.
“We have the opportunities sitting right in front of us to alleviate some more problems in a fairly instantaneous way, but the governments need to take the initiative to act on that.”

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