Proposed assisted living facility remains in limbo pending Island support

Manitoulin Centennial Manor

MANITOULIN—It’s been four months since an assisted living facility suggested for a portion of the Manitoulin Centennial Manor site in Little Current was first proposed to the board, but little headway has been made.

“I’m feeling a little discouraged,” admits Dr. Jeffery, who wrote the proposal. “We have hit a lot of road blocks. Myself and my fellow committee member Petra Wall have had a phone discussion with the LHIN (North East Local Health Integration Network) but they had a different view of assisted living on the Island than we see it and we haven’t heard back from the Manor board about support from the Island municipalities.”

“The LHIN feels that there is enough assisted spaces to meet the Island’s needs based on the wait list for current facilities,” continued Dr. Jeffery.

He explained that caregivers tend to not put people on the wait list and just find alternative arrangements, such as continuing to live at home, meaning that the wait lists are not a good gauge.

“If we don’t have assisted living spaces available people don’t see it as an option, but if we don’t have wait lists than the LHIN isn’t seeing the need,” said Dr. Jeffery. “It’s a chicken and egg type situation.”

Earlier this year, Dr. Jeffery brought a proposal to the Manor board, asking the board to consider parting with some of the Manor’s property and donating it to a not-for-profit organization that would seek funding to build an assisted living facility.

He explained that he approached the Manor board about donating a portion of the land because the home is using less than a third of the property it’s built on and he also felt that there could be shared benefits.

The new facility would in turn work with the Manor, contracting services such as meals, nursing and housekeeping.

In response to the proposal the board carried a motion, forwarding it to the Island municipalities for their consideration, which stated that: “The Manitoulin Centennial Manor board submits the following motion to its member municipalities for consideration and support: Whereas a proposal has been submitted to the board by Dr. Jeffery for the establishment of a not-for-profit multi-unit seniors assisted living facility; and whereas the proposed assisted living facility would require the board to relinquish a portion of its land to the not-for-profit board; and whereas the proposal is contingent upon funding being available, as well as determination of the financial benefits if any to the Manor; therefore the Manor board seeks the concurrence of its member municipalities to investigate the proposal and determine its compatibility with and benefit to the Manor including compliance with the strategic plan.”

While several of the Island municipalities have passed motions stating that they support the Manor board investigating the proposal, not all have, leaving the Manor board unable to move forward with the proposal at this point.

“We haven’t heard back from the Manor board and it’s difficult to move forward with the original proposal (building the facility of donated land from the Manor) without all of the Island municipalities supporting it and without the approval of the LHIN,” said Dr. Jeffery.

“The LHIN suggested that we approach the new Manitoulin Health Collaborative (a group of health agencies from across Manitoulin) and that if we were able to get its support, the LHIN might be in a better position to consider the proposal,” said Dr. Jeffery. “We contacted Derek Graham (Manitoulin Health Centre CEO), but the group hasn’t met yet, so hopefully we will be able to meet with them in the fall.”

Dr. Jeffery said that unfortunately, for now, the assisted living proposal is in limbo, but he and Ms. Wall plan to take up the charge again this fall.