Abbeyfield House aims to improve accessibility thanks to $5,000 grant

Jason Kerr/Daily Herald. Abbeyfield House house manager Judy Anderson (left) and resident Evelyn Hagley (right) pose for a photo in one of two tubs with special inserts installed to allow for greater accessibility. Abbeyfield plans to install the inserts in seven more suites thanks to a $5,000 Affinity Credit Union grant.

Abbeyfield House in Prince Albert has received a $5,000 grant that board members say will help residents remain independent as long as they live there.

Abbeyfield recently received a $5,000 grant from Affinity Credit Union to install tub inserts in seven of their 11 suites. Abbeyfield board president Sylvia Gent said they’re greatful for the support.

“I was really excited because any time we get support for our programs it’s an affirmation that Abbeyfield’s valuable and helping people,” Gent said. “We were recognized as being useful, and we knew it would help us expand our accessibility.”

The tub inserts are waterproof doors that allow residents to shower without having to climb over the bathtub edge. Gent said the inserts will provide a feeling of safety and comfort for residents. They’re hoping to install them as soon as possible.

“We anticipate there may be a bit of a delay because it’s a little difficult right now to get the inserts, like many other things through COVID, manufacturing delays, but we will start as soon as the inserts are available,” she said.

Abbeyfield is a non-profit home that also subsidizes rent for some tenants who can’t afford it. New board member Kevin Mugford said that means they have to stretch their dollars, so getting a grant was a major bonus.

“Most non-profits host on a pretty tight budget, so we wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of Affinity,” he said.

“Something like this potentially helps a resident every single day, so it feels good to be supporting folks.”

House manager Judy Anderson said the new inserts will allow residents to shower without assistance. She said that gives them the confidence to know they can still take care of themselves.

“It really helps the residents to be able to stay here as long as they are physically and mentally able to because they won’t have that barrier of being able to get in and out of the tub,” she said. “It helps them keep their independence and their dignity because they don’t need the support of someone to get in the tub.”

Evelyn Hagley is a longtime resident who worked in home care for 30 years before retiring. She said the tubs will provide residents with independence, while also ensuring staff members don’t have to strain their backs or legs helping a resident get in and out of the tub.

She expects the inserts to have an added bonus as well.

“We’ll at least have a lot of clean people in here,” she said with a chuckle. Abbeyfield House is located on 26th Street East in Prince Albert. It has 11 singles suites and two couples suites, and aims to give residence a home-like atmosphere while allowing them to remain independent.