The long-term care facility in Ormstown has undergone a transformation, part of an effort to make patients with advanced Alzheimer’s and dementia feel more at home.

The third floor unit, home to 15 patients, has been altered to resemble a village.

“I think it’s important for peole throughout their journey in life, throughout their Alzheimer’s journey, even in the advanced stages, to feel like we’re at home, that we’re part of the community and we do still have dreams and hopes,” said Alzheimer’s Society of Suroit Director General Tonya Thibodeau.

The project, called My Village, My Community, brought together dozens of volunteers from the area, including students from Chateauguay Valley Regional High School. In two days, the volunteers transformed the area.

“They really didn’t think that they would have been touched in such a way,” said New Frontiers School community development agent Kaylie Stuckey. “They got to talk to some of the residents, get a feeling for their lives.”

Jade St-Jean of the CISSS Monteregie-Ouest said a difference can be seen in the patients.

“The residents are more relaxed,” she said. “Before, they used to stand at the door, kind of wondering why they couldn’t get out and that created anxiety. Now, they walk around, they look at everything. Everyone is more relaxed.”

The project is only in phase one, with the school board and regional health board planning upcoming activities. Stuckey said that would include a pen pal program with some of the students.

“We want to create a model that we could export, that would inspire others to think outside the box and be creative and to address as much attention as we can to the needs of our neighbours,” said Thibodeau.