About the Centre
Providing day health services to Saanich Peninsula seniors, and respite to their caregivers.
The Mount Newton Centre strives for excellence in the provision of day health services for seniors living on the Saanich Peninsula, thereby enabling them to live in their homes as independently as possible and for as long as is safely possible.
As a not-for-profit organization, Mount Newton Centre operates an Adult Day Program , Community Bathing Program, Health Equipment Lending Program (Loan Cupboard) as well as Foot Care and Blood Pressure Clinics. These programs take place in a “purpose-built farm house” providing a welcoming, homelike atmosphere.
At Mount Newton Centre, we value our reputation in the community. We respect the views of the clients we serve, the staff who work at the Centre, the volunteers who donate their time and expertise, the members of our Society, and our sponsors who fund our efforts. A positive attitude and willingness to serve are qualities all of our staff members and volunteers possess. We strive to honour our history in everything we do.
In the Beginning: A Tradition of “Grass Roots” Response
In 1977 Ann Spicer and Pat Paterson had a dream that the old farmhouse, adjacent to the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, could work as a place to run a day care centre that would “maintain a high level of individual independence, physically and psychologically, to support and give some relief to families and to avoid early placement in long term facilities – if possible.”
“From 1977-1979 the only existing Adult Day Centres were in the Lower Mainland funded by the Ministry of Human Resources. The focus of these Centres was socialization for the participants. The Day Centre – opened in a farm house on The Saanich Peninsula Hospital grounds – the emphasis being based on medical needs as opposed to those Centres under the Department of Human Resources” (excerpt from Presentation to MS. J. Mackay ED, Continuing Care Division, Ministry of Health, December 2, 1986)
Although there were a number of drop-in centres for the elderly in BC there was nothing like the Mount Newton Adult Day Care Centre where elderly people could “get a good hot meal at midday and be under the care of a trained nurse and specially trained staff.”
Physiotherapist Pat Paterson became concerned by the fact that so many of the elderly were being put into long term care hospitals when there was actually no need for such a proceeding. Kay Clark (social worker) and Ann Spicer (Director of Volunteers) at Saanich Peninsula Hospital joined in this vision and their dream came true in 1978 when they opened the old John farm house and, under the long term care program, a society called Mt. Newton Society for the Elderly was formed and incorporated on March 5, 1979. Registered Nurse, Patsy Berger-North was hired as the Society’s Executive Director. She then dedicated herself to growing and sustaining the Centre until her retirement in September of 2016.
Mount Newton Centre Society – looking for a new home
In 1981 the Canada Works Grant ran out and the centre had to be closed. New financial assistance came from the department for long term care in the provincial Ministry of Health, with assurance of ongoing assistance for basic needs.
The centre entertained about 50 people every week ranging in age from 57-102. But the house was turn of the century, cold in the winter and lacking a proper foundation. The society wanted to build near the current site, close to the hospital.
June 7, 1988 $450,000 from the Ministry of Health was provided to build a new adult day care centre at Mount Newton. The Saanich Peninsula Hospital agreed to allow construction of the new buildings on their grounds.
Seniors Health Centre Concept
In a non-threatening outpatient environment, the Mt. Newton Adult Day Health Centre became a unique bridge between acute and community services. It has been endorsed by members of the medical community as a model for the rural delivery of non-institutional health services. The Day Health Centre brings together seniors who are assessed as long term care eligible and keeps them at home by offering a range of health care services from a multidisciplinary team at a central location. As a seniors’ day health centre, it is positioned between a non-medical seniors drop-in (such as Silver Threads) and a day hospital. (exerpt from Stevenson Kellogg Ernst & Whinney Management Consultants Myrna J. Hall & Robert Buhan September 14, 1987)
In 1988 The new building proposed would be 4500 square feet (triple the size of the original farmhouse). The province pays 60% and Mount Newton Centre Society must pay the remaining 40% by raising funds.
Regional hospital board chairman Murray Coell said, “This is a tremendously progressive program that will literally keep dozens of people in their homes and relieve pressure on long term care facilities. Our projections are for drastic increases in the elderly population – I’d like to see this program expanded into Victoria, Saanich, and Oak Bay.”
The Old John Farmhouse sold for $1 and was moved to a 3 acre property on East Saanich Road – it has been renovated and is now a family home.
The new building was completed in 1990 and the original mandate of the Society remains firmly in place. “So successful is the Mount Newton Centre that the signatures of dignitaries from 18 different countries can be found in the guest book. Each one of them visiting the centre with hopes of implementing a similar service in their home countries.”
Overwhelming Support from the Community
The Saanich, or Wsanec, tribes know the mountain as Lau,Welnew, which means place of refuge in the Sencoten language. The secret of the Centre’s success are the volunteers from the local community. For many it is truly a safety net, a place of refuge, just as its namesake has long been considered.
Today Continuing to be… a Tradition of “Grass Roots” Response
We continue to embrace our founding members’ belief that “no government can be all things to all people”. We are grateful to our Saanich Peninsula community for their generous ongoing financial support that enables us to plan for our current and projected needs for the increasing number of seniors on the Saanich Peninsula.
Our Recent Accomplishments
• Upgrades to windows and flooring • Refurnishing Sunroom and Living Room areas • Renovations to 2 tub rooms and purchase of new specially designed tub for easy access • 16-passenger Mount Newton Centre Bus with lift purchased in 2020 • Upgraded computer system in our Medical Equipment Loan building which facilitates services to 49,000 clients to date with 1233 active clients in the community. There is an inventory of 9,000 pieces of equipment • Installing computers throughout the Centre – facilitating administration and communication • Investing in the development of a website to meet the needs of the upcoming generation of families requiring services for themselves or family members • Establishing community networks with Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation and Shoal Centre • Mount Newton Centre continues to provide • staff for Bathing Programs • practicum experience for Camosun Registered Care Aides • Operation and maintenance for bus and 2 additional vans • Subsidy for all programs by raising more than $150,000 per year • Opportunity for feedback for all clients/families in the Adult Day Program.
We live in a new era and certainly the Programs at Mount Newton Centre change as the health districts begin to provide services. Mount Newton Centre continues to explore and initiate specialized programs to meet the changing needs of our seniors and families. We are proud to have been awarded ‘Peninsula’s Choice for Seniors Best Seniors’ Care & Services in 2018 and 2021 which recognizes our commitment to excellence.