A wing at the John Mackintosh Home catering for elderly members of the Jewish community was formally opened yesterday.
Conversion works created space for 16 additional beds at the ground floor of the John Mackintosh Home, as well as opening up space for two extra beds on the third floor of the building.
Previously the ground floor space was used for assisted living, but has been now been refurbished into a ‘dementia friendly’ residential care facility.
Jewish patients who had been cared for on the third floor of the John Mackintosh Home will now be moved downstairs to the ground floor.
Some 10 residents will be transferred, with the remaining beds expected to be used for respite.
The Minister for Health and Care, Neil Costa, and Minister for Housing, Samantha Sacramento, unveiled the newly refurbished area yesterday.
The John Mackintosh Home has now increased its overall capacity to 70 beds as a result of recent works.
This has meant the move will release a number of beds at St Bernard’s Hospital, which will be available for acute admissions.
Mr Costa stressed that the new wing had been completed to the same standard as the Hillsides Dementia Care Facility.
“Day in and day out the Elderly Residential Care team make sure that our elderly who live with dementia and Alzheimer’s are taken care of at the highest quality,” Mr Costa said.
He added: “I’m sure that our elderly are going to be very happy to live in these surroundings.”
Mr Costa thanked the Elderly Residential Care team headed by Susan Vallejo, who has been instrumental in driving forward the project.
The design of the refurbished ground floor meets the same detailed specifications as the three other existing floors.
“It is wonderful to see the expansion and continuation of what we started here,” Ms Sacramento said at the opening of the wing.
Ms Sacramento added she will be now be working closely with Mr Costa towards the accommodation for vulnerable people living in Gibraltar.
The corridors have been decorated with photos of the synagogue and various depictions relating to the Jewish faith.
The kitchen has been furnished with signs to ensure that any kosher food is prepared in accordance to the faith.
Moses Benggio, spokesman for the Jewish Home, said the community was “very happy” the government has provided an area for those of the Jewish faith.
“It is really like a Jewish Home and we are very grateful,” Mr Benggio said.
The wing is fitted to be ‘dementia friendly’, by making use of colour coding on doors and corridors and using signage, which resonates best for those with sensory or memory difficulties.
This will allow residents to better orientate themselves and minimise anxiety.
The area is wheelchair accessible and is fitted with low profiling beds, enabling residents to maintain maximum independence in the safest environment.
Specialist equipment such as hoists and standing aids have also been supplied, along with vital pieces of equipment, which provide for the residents’ needs and ensure staff are carrying out resident manual handling tasks safely.