Holland Christian Homes: John Kalverda, Administrator & Executive Director

by HCE Exchange on August 19, 2010

Tucked away in Brampton, the third largest city in the Greater Toronto Area, Holland Christian Homes offers the southern Ontario region of Canada a culturally specific religious care facility. Incorporated forty years ago, Holland Christian Homes has expanded significantly to span numerous apartment towers and nursing homes, establishing a vital senior community on its grounds in the process.

Proud History, Promising Future

Holland Christian Homes began in 1969 and by 1979 the care center had a major building built which included 105 apartments. A decision that has benefitted Holland for many years was made at that time. Administrator and Executive Director, John Kalverda wasn’t part of the organization at this time, but he explains the significance.  “The organization wanted to make sure care was provided in the apartments and that each one was equipped with a way for tenants to access help. Pull chords that enabled tenants to request care very quickly were therefore added.” It was decided that these communication devices would be installed in every bedroom, bathroom and living room. “This policy has expanded with each new building construction and now every apartment complex is enabled with a system that allows tenants to call for help from spots in any apartment.”

Holland Christian Homes spans 15 acres, divided by a road, the campus includes 10 acres on one side of the street and five acres on the other. Two tunnels connect the campus together to make for a cohesive center. There are a total of six apartment towers, but expansion at Holland Christian Homes was gradual, with each additional tower’s construction spaced out evenly from 1979 to 2004. During this time frame, two 120-bed nursing homes, called Faith Manor and Grace Manor were constructed in addition to the apartment towers. In all the Holland Christian Homes campus now boasts 463 apartments and 240 beds for nursing care.

Customized Care for Niche Community

In order to live at Holland Christian Homes, tenants need to be 60 years old or older and profess a Christian belief. Spouses who are slightly younger however, are able to become tenants as well. Today there are 825 tenants and 240 residents currently residing at Holland Christian Homes.  Most of these tenants are from the Netherlands and hence where the adult community received its name. “One has to become a member and what we do is when they apply, they have to make a faith statement, after which, they go on a waiting list. Currently, we have over 1,100 names on this list,” explains Kalverda. Once tenants are accepted into the apartment residence, they have a better chance of being ultimately accepted into the nursing home facility when their conditions require additional care. “Nursing home care is different in Canada than in the US. In Ontario nursing homes have to offer community access, but because we are culturally distinct, we are allowed to show priority to our tenants when placing them on the nursing home waiting list.”

A Culture of Care and Enrichment

With hundreds of Ontario residents on a waiting list to call Holland Christian home, what makes this community such a desirable location for seniors?  Of course the distinct cultural and religious qualities have to be taken into account, but the umbrella of care Holland Christian offers also plays a major role in the site’s appeal.  “We are the only senior complex in Canada that provides an on-site pharmacy. We offer a lot of activities smaller communities do not,” says Kalverda. “We have a credit union on site, a Dutch store that carries all the ethnic food our residents enjoy as well as being a conventional food store, two hairdressers, activities such as pool / billiards and shuffle board and a restaurant which rents space from us on the bottom floor of one apartment tower.”

Meal services are a very important part of Holland Christian Home’s services. Besides the full-service restaurant the site also features other eating options, with each apartment fully equipped with a refrigerator and stove. There is also a snack bar which serves an entrée of the day, communal dining and a “meals on wheels” program, where food is prepared by the residential center and then sent to various apartments upon request.

Ensuring Quality

Holland Christian Homes has grown immensely since its first residential tower was constructed some decades ago. Today the not-for-profit employs 450 staffers, with an operating budget of $24.5 million. John, who has been with the organization for the last 24 years, says that one of the major keys to success is the quality of the programs the Homes offer. He explains that the organization has just received its certificate of accreditation from the Accreditation Canada after an extensive routine review by accreditation surveyors. “We are constantly doing audits and tweaking things to make sure we keep meeting the needs of our tenants and residents. Our key indicators allow us to be alerted of problems so that we can quickly fix them. If, for instance, there were suddenly a rise in falls or staff turnovers, we would be able to address the problem quickly and pinpoint a solution.”

Between monitoring and improving, Holland Christian has earned a reputation for consistently high quality. “We have a good reputation in town, hospitals and doctors in the area respect our organization and just last year we were voted best residential complex by the local newspaper, The Brampton Guardian. We were voted the best in the Readers Choice category as well.” For Holland Christian Homes, serving a niche community has allowed the organization to prosper and grow, but focusing on providing a well-rounded residential experience and top quality care has gained the complex the respect of its community.

-by Jacqueline Rupp

VN:F [1.9.7_1111]
Rating: 7.3/10 (6 votes cast)
Holland Christian Homes: John Kalverda, Administrator & Executive Director, 7.3 out of 10 based on 6 ratings
VN:R_U [1.9.7_1111]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: