Moving Into an Aging in Place Community
The following was featured in the Light Magazine in February of 2018.
Six years ago, Wally Strelau’s wife Erika was diagnosed with early onset dementia when she was 71. The couple knew they would need to be proactive and find a place where they both could live. They knew that Erika’s care needs would increase but their aim was to remain together as long as possible. Wally did a thorough search of assisted living facilities and care homes and decided on Elim Village, a campus of care located in Surrey.
Before retirement, Wally owned a small business that made custom furniture for designers. Having been an employer, Wally has insight on how an employee’s attitude affects how they do their job so he made a point of speaking with the staff. A care aid told him that in her career she had worked at six different places but that Elim was her favourite. She explained that the modern design of the buildings coupled with how management interacted with the staff and residents made Elim Village a great place to work. This was a deciding factor in Wally’s choice.
Wally and Erika moved into an independent suite in the Kootenay in 2014. But a year later, Erika was ready for more care and she moved across the lane to the Harrison, the residential care building. Though not living together, the couple are able to visit, take walks around the spacious grounds, and enjoy having some meals together.
Located on 25 acres, Elim Village is a compact community named for the Oasis described in Exodus 15:27. There are 250 independent living units, an assisted living building called the Emerald, and the Harrison where Erika lives. In addition, four doctors have offices on the premises and there is a full-service pharmacy.
Wally is in good health and appreciates the many activities and amenities located onsite. He enjoys exercising in the gym, playing billiards with friends, and hitting a golf ball on the small putting green. A music lover, he takes advantage of the world class concerts presented at the auditorium. He is also quick to point out the beautiful chapel that is centrally located on the campus. While living apart is not easy, Wally is able to live a full life with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that his dear wife is getting the best of care in a pleasant and secure setting.
Wally describes living at Elim Village this way: “I knew this would be our last stop but what a wonderful place to live out the last phase of your life. This is heaven on earth until we reach the real thing,” he says with a smile.