Marguerite Patrick shows of her room in Abbeyfield House. All rooms are 300 square feet with a private bathroom and storage space.

Abbeyfield House provides dignified living

Abbeyfield House first opened its doors on December 27, 1999. The senior living home was built to fill a need in Golden to provide assisted care for seniors.

The house is a part of a larger chain of senior living homes which were started in England when Richard Carr-Gomm, a veteran of the Second World War, noticed how many people were lonely, and living in poor conditions as they aged.

“These people were by themselves, they had no one to talk to. They weren’t eating properly,” explained Anne Younger, the president of Abbeyfield House in Golden. “There are a lot of seniors who don’t have anyone at all. They’re all alone. That’s why Abbeyfield was started.”

For $1,244 a month, residents have all their groceries and cooking done for them, while living in an easily manageable 300 square foot apartment. That price also includes all utilities, except for the cost of a phone.

A non-profit charity, Abbeyfield relies on grants and donations to supplement their income from their rent in order to keep their doors open.

“We thought maybe BC housing could help us keep up with wages, and they couldn’t,” said Younger. “I thought there would be some opportunity there, but there’s not.”

The main perk of living in Abbeyfield is the sense of community that it brings to people that may otherwise be alone.

“It’s a family atmosphere. It’s a small number of people, and it’s easy to get to know one another and find like minded people,” said Younger. “They have companionship and friendship here.”

Currently, Abbeyfield is looking for people to join their board of directors, with a request for three people to join the fold. They’re looking for help with marketing, finance and applying for grants, as well as managing policy.

“If anyone is interested in checking out the board, they can call me,” said Anne Younger, the president of Abbeyfield House. “We expect them to attend two board meetings before they decide if this is something they want to do.”

With one vacancy, there’s an opportunity to join their family. They are also considering turning the vacant room into a convalescent room with furniture donated from the Credit Union, something they’ve done in the past.

With rising insurance, propane, and with the minimum wage hike this summer, and a rise in employee wages, Abbeyfield is encouraging community donations. A non-profit charity organization, those who donate will receive a tax receipt for a tax deduction.

For now, they will continue to do the best with what they’ve got, and continue to provide dignified living for seniors.

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