New vision for seniors housing

By Sharon McLeay Times Contributor

A heartfelt calling prompted Marcia Byma to consider turning her family farm into a faith-based senior’s community for area residents.
From her own parent’s experience, to stories passed on by other seniors, Byma noticed the need for a quality senior’s facility that could help seniors age close to home. The Chara Seniors community is one step closer to reality, with a rezoning request presented to Wheatland County council on Dec. 5.
“It is an issue close to my heart,” said Byma. “It is not about profit, not about budgets; it is about care for our seniors.”
Byma said she wants to see a facility that provides dignity and compassion for seniors as they age. To that end, she has worked with engineers, developers and health consultants to establish the not-for-profit Chara Seniors community. Negotiations are in place to retain local nurse Dori Lee as the community caseworker.
The facility will cover 91.6 acres and will be located near the Speargrass community on Highway 24 just south of Carseland. Byma has preserved the natural landscape and vegetation within the plan’s walkway network, to provide pleasant natural surroundings for the seniors in the community. The initial plan proposes 24 two-bedroom bungalows units and a 10-unit senior’s cottage facility. A community centre will house a store, workrooms, hairdressing area, a chapel, a central dining facility, library, medical office, exercise room and guest suites. There are plans to include a Handibus unit, which will serve for medical response and trips to Calgary or Strathmore for residents. Units will be for lease, not purchase, alleviating some of the costs seniors face in their final years.
If the plan is accepted, Byma said there would be an open house arranged in late spring 2018.