SHEDIAC (GNB) – A new 190-bed nursing home will be built in Shediac.

“Your government is making investments now that will ensure our seniors have access to high-quality services when they need them,” said Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Lisa Harris. “New Brunswick has an aging population and it is important that we ensure the best quality of life for seniors and their families.”

The new Shediac facility is part of the government’s 2018-2023 Nursing Home Plan, which involves creating more than 1,000 nursing home beds and memory care beds around the province.

The nursing home, which will replace Villa Providence, will be built through a competitive bidding process based on the model used in similar facilities constructed elsewhere in the province. Harris also announced that the preferred proponent will be required to maintain existing collective agreements and associated benefits.

“It is important that we provide stability and have a seamless transition to the new nursing home,” said Harris. “The success of other public-private partnership nursing home projects in the province gives us the confidence that this is the right way to proceed.”

Shediac-Beaubassin-Cap-Pelé MLA Victor Boudreau said the compassion and commitment of staff members at Villa Providence will continue in the new home.

“Not only is a new facility welcome news to seniors and their families, construction will create direct jobs and economic spinoffs in the region,” said Boudreau, who attended for Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Bill Fraser.

The government’s nursing home plan, which will be carried out in three phases, involves building ten 60-bed nursing homes around the province.

An additional 407 beds for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia will be provided in special care homes. As well, 19 nursing home beds will be added to existing homes.

The provincial budget, which was unveiled Jan. 30, contained a number of investments and strategies to benefit seniors and their caregivers, such as:

  • $12 million to increase wages for special care workers and home support workers.
  • $1.25 million for a pilot project to help free up acute-care beds.
  • $2.1 million for a wage supplement program focused on seniors, to encourage companies to hire seniors.
  • $800,000 to begin implementing the New Brunswick Aging Strategy.
  • $11.3 million for a program to support informal caregivers.
  • $2.1 million in additional funding for specialized beds for people with advanced dementia.

These initiatives are in addition to other programs for seniors, such as the Home First strategy, the Seniors Health, Well-Being and Home Safety Review, wellness clinics and the Age-Friendly Communities Recognition Program, as well as other investments in senior care, such as affordable housing and home care.

Fostering healthy aging and support for seniors is one of the seven priority areas outlined in the New Brunswick Family Plan framework, which also focuses government action on: improving access to primary and acute care; promoting wellness; supporting people with addictions and mental health challenges; advancing women’s equality; reducing poverty and providing support for people living with a disability.