Nobody does it better. Finlandia Village is a model for the rest of Canada in providing a continuum of care for our aging population. It offers independent living residences, assisted living housing, and long-term care.
Historically, North Americans have developed senior-care models that put people "away" in institutions. Finlandia Village borrows from the Scandinavian model and offers thoughtfully-designed senior accommodation with access to services and care residents require as they age in a village-like setting. It is a community not an institution.
While the village was developed by the Sudbury Finnish Home Society and celebrates Finnish culture, it welcomes people of all nationalities, says David Munch, the executive director.
In the past 30 years, there has been close to $35 million invested in construction at Finlandia Village which provides housing for 300 residents and employs 200 people.
Oliver Korpela and Leo Raaska are considered the fathers of Finlandia Village. Korpela donated land in Minnow Lake for the project. Raaska was the first president of the Sudbury Finnish Home Society which had 72 founding members.
In 1986, with the help of CHMC and pulla sales, the society built Finlanda Koti, 90 one- and two-bedroom apartments for independent seniors with common rooms for activities, dining and saunas.
The Palvelukoti assisted living housing facility with 46 one-bedroom units with support services was built in 1992. This complex has a dining facility, pool and sauna, meeting rooms and a social activity room.
Thirty-one land-lease townhouses were build on the property over a 10-year period from 1995 to 2008. Townhouse owners have access to the village's services and facilities.
In 2000, the 110-bed long-term care (nursing) facility, Hoivakoti, was constructed. In 2007, Majatalo, an eight-unit shared housing building, was built to provide emergency stays for people waiting for long-term housing.
And the building continues. Construction is underway to build Lepokoti, 82 affordable assisted living units, a common room for meals, a multi-purpose room and the Oliver G. Korpela Wellness Centre.
"This will be a state-of-the-art centre that not only serves the medical needs of our seniors, but facilitates programs to help get them well and stay well," says Munch.
The entire project will cost about $16 million and has received help from the province, with $7.32 million in funding through the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program. The project received an additional $500,000 from the NE LHIN and $196,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The scheduled completion date is October 2012.
"The development of the Finlandia Village truly defines 'community builder'," says Gerry Lougheed Jr., who is chairing the $3-million "Sisu" community fundraising campaign.
Sisu is a Finnish term that means strength of will, determination and perseverance.
The Sudbury Finnish Rest Home Society has grown from 72 to 600 members. Brian Koivu is the current president.
There are 10 more acres of undeveloped land off Fourth Ave., says Munch with a smile.
"The society looks forward to our continued expansion and the innovative ways we can serve the needs of seniors in the community."