VICTORIA -- Vancouver Island’s first-ever 'dementia village' is expected to begin construction next year.

The new facility, which will bring 156 permanent beds to the Comox Valley, will focus on resident-directed care and social activities for senior dementia patients.

The village will feature amenities like a bistro, art studio, community garden and chapel that residents will be allowed to access freely.

Residents of the facility will stay in self-contained homes with personal bathrooms.

The village will encourage social interaction among its residents and will include seniors in daily activities like food preparation, cooking and laundry to promote a sense of belonging.

Meanwhile, residents will have access to daily activities within their household and throughout the village.

“As a resident of Comox for the past 25 years, I’ve seen the increased need for seniors’ care, and I’ve heard from people looking for choices in long term care homes to meet their specific holistic needs,” said Ronna Rae Leonard, parliamentary secretary for seniors and MLA for Courtenay-Comox.

“This innovative dementia village will help seniors experiencing dementia continue to have a good and dignified quality of life.”

In total, 148 publicly funded long-term care beds and eight respite beds will be operated in the dementia village, which will be located at the St. Joseph’s General Hospital site.

Construction is expected to begin in spring or summer 2021 at an estimated cost of $52.6 million.

Initial renderings of the village can be viewed here