The Bethania Group

Caring for Manitoba's elderly

Located in Winnipeg, The Bethania Group provides an array of healthcare services that have sprung from its core mission to serve the elderly in its community. Bethania operates personal care homes, senior residences, assisted living and supportive housing, a behavioural treatment centre and ancillary services, such as restaurants, hairdressing and physical training.

The Bethania Group was originally started in 1945 by the Mennonite Benevolent Society, and derives its name from the small Israeli village of Bethania (or Bethany), in which Jesus was said to have cared for the residents’ physical and spiritual needs. Within the framework of its Christian values, the organization’s priority is to provide high-quality care and assistance to elderly residents, while generating long-term economic benefits to support and expand existing and emerging programs.  

For persons aged 65 or over, Bethania ensures care that is tailored to the individual needs and comfort levels of its clients. Naturally, all staff are highly trained and committed to supporting their client’s independence for as long as possible, while facilitating the highest achievable quality of life.
The breakdown of offerings is as follows. Independent living is a seniors housing alternative with optional services available on a pay-per-use basis.

Assisted living is ideal for people who can live independently, but who don’t want to perform daily household maintenance or prepare meals. Supportive housing allows people to live in their own suite, while having 24-hour care available onsite. Finally, personal care homes are facilities for people who need assistance on a 24-hour basis.

Prioritising service

Unlike privately owned senior’s healthcare facilities, The Bethania Group carries with it an embedded philosophy and priority of service. “As a non-profit organization, we’re not saddled with an obligation to generate numbers,” says Ray Koop, CEO. “This allows us to focus on how we deliver care and how we provide services. Certainly, we have a strong obligation to operate within our funding and balance budgets, but being non-profit does change the philosophical view of how to conduct the business.”

“I’m not saying that all profit companies only care about money,” Koop adds. “But if you think about it, we can provide better service in an environment in which all profits are put back into the business to provide more for the client. So the non-profit aspect does make us different.”

Of course, being owned and operated by a faith group will add another dimension to the business. “There is a legacy of an ongoing church commitment,” Koop explains. “That faith community has really given us a place from which to recruit volunteers and financial support. There is a sense of ownership by the broad church community and that has really strengthened the organization.”

The aging population

Society’s most populous generation is getting older and soon assisted living facilities will surely see an influx in clients. “We’re just now starting to see the baby boomer bulge,” says Koop. “In the next 10 to 20 years, I see that demand for personal care increasing dramatically.” At the moment, Bethania has no concrete plans to expand its personal care facilities, but that is mostly because the company is heavily regulated by Manitoba Health. “An organization can’t independently make that choice,” Koop maintains, “because it’s a part of a systemic process.”

While there are no definitive plans to expand either two personal healthcare centres, Bethania is looking at other housing opportunities for the elderly, whether that is assisted living or supportive housing. “We are looking to grow that part of the business,” he assures. Whatever the demographics bring, The Bethania Group will continue to pursue its mission to care for the elderly residents of the Winnipeg community.

“Our success if not defined by walls or a roof, it’s defined by the how we serve people every day,” Koop concludes. “That not only mission, but our legacy. We hear from families and residents who are very satisfied with the care that we provide.”