EDMONTON — When Edmonton’s Tulane and Larry Rollingher Retirement Community opens in the summer of 2014, it will be the only Jewish-focused facility of its kind between Winnipeg and Vancouver.
In mid-June, the Edmonton community held a sod-turning ceremony for its first Jewish seniors’ residence, which will be located on the corner of Jasper Avenue and 119 Street, alongside Beth Shalom Synagogue.
The 13-storey building will have 55 suites of assisted living on three floors, which will operate under the auspices of Alberta Health Services. There will be 80 one- and two-bedroom suites on the upper eight floors, as well as a rooftop patio with a glassed-in reading room and a library. Downstairs there will be a kosher kitchen, dining rooms and three retail storefronts.
Fundraising for the $30-million facility began 11 years ago, and the Alberta provincial government has contributed more than $6 million. Approximately $9 million has been fundraised to date.
While its focus will be Jewish, the facility will not be restricted to those of the Jewish faith. But at any one time, the Edmonton Jewish community, which has approximately 5,000 members, has between 50 and 75 Jewish seniors in need of such a facility.
“Many of our parents, and those in need of care, have been scattered throughout the city in facilities where there was limited Jewish cultural programming and an absence of kosher food,” said Len Dolgoy, president of the Beit Horim (Our Parents’ Home Society). “At a time in their lives when Jewish culture and traditions should help sustain them, we could not provide that care directly.”
Tulane Rollingher played a leading role in the fundraising campaign for the new centre after the death of her husband, Larry, in 2000, and arranged that donations in Larry’s name be directed to the project. At the sod-turning ceremony, Irv Kipnes, project chair, paid tribute to the Rollinghers’ contributions to Jewish Edmonton over the past 100 years. “I cannot think of anything more fitting than to honour them by having their name associated with this significant project,” he said.
George VanderBurg, Alberta’s associate minister of seniors, said that the project “will provide residents with more options to remain in their community close to family and friends and allow couples to age together as their accommodations and personal-care needs increase.
“Projects like this reflect our government’s commitment to meeting changing needs of seniors and supports the premier’s vision to increase the number of continuing-care units in the province and the quality of life of residents.”
When it opens in two years’ time, the management of the facility will be contracted to a company specializing in seniors’ care.