Those visiting Finlandia Village for the organization's Lucky Duck Dash fundraiser Sept. 29 received a sneak peek at the organization's new $15-million Lepokoti assisted living facility.
The 82-unit building is essentially completed, with the contractor, Saldan, due to put on the finishing touches over the next few weeks. Residents will start moving in at the end of October and the beginning of November.
The public is invited to attend Lepokoti's grand opening, which will take place at the facility during the morning of Nov. 2. Specific details haven't yet been worked out.
“We got into this project because seniors need more affordable housing to live independently,” Finlandia Village executive director David Munch said.
“We provide services provided by the government, so if you need help with your meals, your laundry, your housekeeping, you can afford to live in a place like Finlandia in a much more independent, supportive environment than living on your own.
“It differs from a nursing home or retirement home because it's more affordable. The funding we got from the government provides a rent of $570 a month for some of the apartments, which means any senior on a minimum pension can afford to live here.”
Even without Lepokoti, Finlandia Village, located on Fourth Avenue, already has about 50 supportive housing units, as well as a nursing home, seniors' apartments and townhouses.
The $20,000 raised by the Lucky Duck Dash went to support the Sisu campaign, which aims to raise $3 million for the Lepokoti project. Thanks to generous community donations, Finlandia is getting close to reaching this goal, Munch said.
Besides the Sisu funds, the project is being funded through $8 million in government grants and $5 million in bank loans.
Lepokoti includes amenities such as a dining hall, a multipurpose hall which can house up to 300 people and an on-site doctor's office.
“Our interior design team came up with a concept for the lobby to bring in the outdoors inside,” Munch said. “We have pine trees brought into the lobby of the building that give a bit of an aspect of what the Finnish culture and Finnish landscape is like.”
Finlandia is working with local health-care organizations to identify people who would benefit from living in the complex, he said.
This includes alternate level of care (ALC) patients at the hospital and those in long-term care facilities who “don't need to be there anymore,” Munch said. As such, Lepikoti has the potential to ease some of the capacity issues the city's health-care system has been experiencing, he said.
Right now, though, the facility is already pretty much at capacity, Munch said.
Liisa Kinos, whose 81-year-old mother, Eva Kamarainen, will be moving to the facility, was one of those who toured the building Sept. 29.
“She's got the onset of Alzheimer's,” she said. “She's looking forward to coming in. She has friends who are in the complex. It kind of gives us relief that we don't have to worry about her in her own home.”
Kinos said she thinks the new building is “beautiful.” She said she especially likes the fact that the complex has all kinds of on-site seniors' services.
Judy and Bob Viau also toured Lepokoti Sept. 29. Bob's 84-year-old brother is on the waiting list to move into the facility.
“He's got his name in for a one-bedroom,” Judy said. “We wanted to see what it's like. I think it would really be good for him. He has a nice one-bedroom apartment now, but this is much more accessible. With the meal plan, then you don't have to worry about him cooking and leaving the stove on.”
Bob said he thinks Lepokoti is a “really, really nice place,” adding that he and his wife might want to move there themselves when they get a little older.
For more information about the facility, phone Finlandia at www.finlandiavillage.ca or phone 705-524-3137.