Chez-Nous residents displaced by fire move to new care home

Friday was moving day for 30 residents of Le Chez-Nous community care facility. Most of them have been living at Mill River Resort since a January 18 fire damaged their home at La Coopérative Le Chez-Nous in Wellington, P.E.I. 

'It's been sort of exciting to finally get a place of our own again'

Marie-Anne Arsenault, right, is excited to find her new room at Andrews of Summerside after living at a hotel since her community care facility, Le Chez-Nous, burned a month ago. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Friday was moving day for 30 residents of Le Chez-Nous community care facility. 

Most of them have been living at Mill River Resort since a fire on January 18 displaced 47 residents of La Coopérative Le Chez-Nous in Wellington, P.E.I. 

Now, most of them have moved to Andrews of Summerside, a facility with several levels of care. 

"We are just so happy that this day is finally here, that we can move to hopefully a little bit more of a permanency until we can get back to our own Chez-Nous in Wellington," said Marcel Richard, the president of the board that runs Chez-Nous.

Half the residents moved in the morning and half in the afternoon, with each transported by one of their partners in care. 

Andrews of Summerside welcomed 30 residents of Chez-Nous Friday. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

All the equipment and supplies that Chez-nous staff will need had to be moved too. 

"The transition seems to be going very well," Richard said. "They [the residents] are already very positive."

'We'll be fine here'

Resident Marie-Anne Arsenault spent the past two weeks living with her daughter, to free up space at Mill River. She's thrilled at being under her own steam once more.

Arsenault says after staying with family, she is glad to have space to call her own again. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

"It's been sort of exciting to finally get a place of our own again. I was very comfortable with my daughter, but it's not like a place of your own," she said. 

Arsenault was also happy to see and reconnect with her friends from Chez-Nous.

"It's a really nice place," she added. "We'll be fine here, I'm sure."

Repairs could take 3 to 6 months

For those who take care of the residents, the past month has been a juggling act, between making sure they have what they need at Mill River and finding somewhere for them to stay while repairs are underway at Chez-Nous.

Arsenault said Chez-Nous staff went the extra mile to make residents comfortable, and she is grateful. 

'It could be three months, it could be six months. It's all going to depend on how quickly the renovation is going to be able to happen,' before residents can return to Chez-Nous, says the co-op's president, Marcel Richard. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Richard said one challenge for residents was getting in and out of the beds at the resort; they are higher than the beds at their community care facility.

Another 16 residents have gone to other care homes across western P.E.I. — in Tignish, O'Leary and Kensington — or they are living with family members for now. One resident passed away in the month since the fire. 

Richard said the goal is to keep residents where they are until Chez-Nous is able to reopen. He estimates that will take three to six months, but much depends on COVID-19 supply issues for both building materials and furniture such as beds.

The interior of the Wellington building is completely ruined, he said, although the exterior looks fine. 

"It is nice now to think that hopefully, fingers crossed, that we will be here for the duration until we move back," Richard said. "It is very hard on older people, to move them like that." 

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown


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