A celebration of continuing care in Langley

Dementia Village holds tree-planting to commemorate school formerly on site

As a Brookswood ‘village’ readies to give people with dementia a better future, staff took a moment to reflect on the location’s care-taking past.

The Village, a 6.96 acre dementia care centre touted as the first-of-its-kind in Canada, was built where Bradshaw Elementary stood from 1974 to 2007 at 3920 198 St.

A tree-planting gathered staff both new and old to celebrate the project’s completion and honor the former Langley school.

Project lead Elroy Jespersen said the Dogwood tree that now stands in the complex’s courtyard is meant to symbolize a continuation.

“The school supported kids when they were young and now we can support people at the other end of their life,” Jespersen explained.

Former school staff reconnected after twelve years had passed since the school’s closure while the Village’s employees toured their guests around the grounds.

Similar to the Hogewey project in the Netherlands, the Langley complex includes squares, gardens and a park where the residents can safely roam, along with a grocery store, restaurant, bar and theatre streets.

Pat Macdonald, Bradshaw’s last acting principal described the tree planting as a “passing of the baton.”

“We were asked if it would be okay to memorialize what will be here and what was here,” Macdonald said. “Well, we are overjoyed to see the continuation of care on this site.”

Macdonald was joined by her husband Tom, who started as a teacher at Bradshaw when the school first opened in ‘74. They thought his presence would be fitting given their “book-ending” of Bradshaw’s history.

A commemorative plaque was co-presented by Macdonald and Village executive director Adrienne Alford-Burt which will be installed next to the tree.

The plaque features both building names as well as an inscription that reads “It takes a Village.”

Each member in attendance took a turn piling sod around the tree’s base to honor both institutions.

Read more: The Village community for dementia patients about to take shape

Sod had previously been turned at the site before construction began on the Village in February of 2018.

A public open house is planned for the end of July with residents moving in for the official opening this August.

People can visit www.thevillagelangley.com for more information on the new facility.

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