Almost twenty years ago, a group of Caledon residents watched as elders in their community left to spend their life elsewhere as no support systems were available to assist them with the increasing limitations of growing older. Especially troubling was the departure of a couple in their nineties who remained very involved in the Caledon East community, who moved to Ottawa because their home was too difficult for them to cope with. In this case, when a local church organized a farewell party, over 100 friends attended. The group of residents decided they would develop a home where elderly individuals could receive the necessary supports of daily living while enjoying their independence. The Abbeyfield model was chosen as their objective.
The Abbeyfield model was developed in England in the late 1950s and provides a locally managed housing option for low income people with a housing need for daily supports of living while living independently. Operated by community volunteers, it employs a couple of house managers who oversee its operation while providing meals to the residents.
After several years of planning and fund-raising, Abbeyfield Caledon was opened in 2010. Each resident has their own living unit with a spacious bed-sitting area and private accessible washroom. Residents share a dining, living, library and other house space. It’s a communal living type of operations where lunch and dinner are taken together, and breakfast is arranged so residents can prepare their own in their own time. The objective of Abbeyfield Homes is to be non-institutional and when you visit Abbeyfield Caledon, you will feel this warm and inviting environment.
Abbeyfield Caledon is a charitable, not-for-profit, community-based organization. With oversight and involvement of a Board of nine Directors, it operates on 22 Walkers Road East in Caledon East. Located behind the senior’s apartment building in front, it provides a bright, environmentally supportive living space to individuals who do not require the care of a nursing facility but need an accessible safe space with supports.
In the nine years that Abbeyfield Caledon has operated, very dedicated community volunteers have given many hours to support the home to meet the needs of residents. Providing governance oversight, maintaining the building and its physical plant, interacting with residents, ensuring the nutrition and support needs of residents are met and providing a fun place for living and playing are all the work of our volunteers. Abbeyfield Caledon is a unique approach to help us as we age to remain involved in our community. The Board of Abbeyfield Caledon invites others to become involved.
Abbeyfield Caledon, although originally helped with capital costs from Canada, Ontario, the Region of Peel and Town of Caledon, actually operates without government funding. Currently residents pay $1925 for their living and meals. As this amount does surpass regular pension benefits, recently the Board begun to subsidize costs for those in need.
Abbeyfield Caledon can operate at this level provided it maintains occupancy of its 12 units. In the past, there have been vacancies, and this has strained the financial picture for the home. We have been at full occupancy since last fall and are working to develop a waiting list to ensure all units are used in the future.
A recent survey of residents revealed they love living at Abbeyfield. With a range of ages from the late 60s to one gentleman of 101 years, they like the arrangements that allow them to receive their supports like meals while still being able to remain involved in our community. One of our residents whose career was both nursing and pastoring, volunteers two days a week at Headwaters. Another resident participates at Caledon Seniors Centre in wood-carving while growing vegetables which are served in the home. It is truly a place where friends are made, and everyone works to ensure enjoyment continues in life.
Anyone wishing to become involved with Abbeyfield Caledon is welcome to contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you want to assist with the operations, help meet the needs of our residents or provide funds for our capital needs, you will be greeted as a friend.
Courtesy of: Foot Clinic & Orthotics | Supplied By: Joe McReynolds, Abbeyfield Caleon