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Seniors love new and improved Pioneer Manor

BY HEIDI ULRICHSEN [email protected] Fran Clark loves her room in the new wing of Pioneer Manor. The $22 million wing has 188 long-term care beds and replaces an east wing that was constructed in the 1950s.

Fran Clark loves her room in the new wing of Pioneer Manor.

The $22 million wing has 188 long-term care beds and replaces an east wing that was constructed in the 1950s. The impressive new wing features bright, open spaces, a sun room and modern recreation room.
The private bedroom is littered with personal effects, including pictures of family and friends, a computer with internet access, assistive devices, and a cozy quilt-covered daybed. A low window looks out onto the bustling traffic on Notre Dame Boulevard and casts a glowing light onto her kindly, intelligent face.

The 64-year-old Sudbury woman says she gave up her apartment last July and moved into Pioneer Manor because a degenerative spinal cord condition had made independent living too difficult.

When the new $22 million wing of the facility was completed in October, Clark jumped at the chance to become one of its first residents. She likes
the airy, modern atmosphere of the three-story addition.

?I made the decision myself to apply for long-term care, and it?s working out wonderfully for me,? said the cordial senior, who is vice-president of Pioneer Manor?s residents? council. ?I wanted a private room with a private bath.

?I wanted to be in this area because I knew it was so brand-new. It?s so accessible, it?s light, it?s airy, there?s nice big wide halls, and the sitting areas are great.?

She doesn?t pay any more for the room than she would in an older facility because the cost is government-controlled.

Pioneer Manor residents Jeanne Kirwan and Albertine Clement sit down for lunch in one of the dining areas in the new three-storey addition.
The facility?s new wing was officially opened Friday, and guided tours were conducted during an open house Saturday.

A total of 188 long-term care beds - part of Pioneer Manor?s 342-bed capacity - have moved from the old building to the new wing. The wing is divided into six home areas for up to 32 residents. The new addition replaces an old wing that was constructed in the 1950s.

Part of that space was donated to the Sudbury-Manitoulin Alzheimer Society for their dementia care program.

The major upgrading project was funded with $13 million from the City of Greater Sudbury and $9 million from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Clark?s 96-year-old aunt, Jeanne Kirwan, has been a resident at Pioneer Manor for a little less than two years.

When the new wing opened, she moved in just down the hall from Clark. With an energy that belies her age, Kirwan enjoys knitting, sewing, and visiting with family and friends. But one of her favourite hobbies is to simply sit and watch the world go by.

?I like the room where I am because I can see everything outside. I can look at the traffic. At night it?s nice because it looks like it?s on fire,? she says. ?It?s a lot better (than the old wing). That room was small, and I had no window.?

Pioneer Manor director Randy Hotta says part of the project?s funding came about because the previous provincial government wanted to raise the standard of Ontario?s long-term care beds.

Before the expansion, the facility had mostly ?D? standard beds, which meant smaller, older rooms for patients, as well as shared washrooms. The new wing has ?A? standard beds, which means more space for residents and private washrooms.

?It improves their quality of life. Basically, there?s more space for activities. Living conditions changed greatly,? said Hotta. ?To give you an idea, we had 90 people living in 20,000 square feet. Now 90 people live in 50,000 square feet.

?Before, because it was smaller, in some areas you?d have two sittings for dining. Now you only have one sitting. There?s some advantages in that way so that everyone can eat together. I think it improves morale.?

But a building can only do so much for residents, says Hotta. He gives high praise to his staff, who do a good job no matter where they?re working.

?It?s not just the building. It?s the staff and the building, and the care provided to the residents. A building can only do so much,? he says.


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