Mennonite Nursing Homes Inc. was established by the Conference of Mennonites of Saskatchewan (presently Mennonite Church Saskatchewan).
In early 1943 the Saskatchewan Mennonite Youth Organization (SMYO) made an offer to the Government to purchase the Rosthern Experimental Farm that had been closed down since 1940 and rented to a local farmer. Since the SMYO had used the farm for their retreats, in their offer to purchase they included some of their future vision including young people’s retreats, children’s camps, singing festivals, and an orphanage. In September 1943 they took over what has become the Mennonite Youth Farm. The purchase price was $20,000, with an initial payment of $5,000 with three subsequent annual payments to follow. Individuals donated these funds at a time when minimum wage was $14 for two weeks or $1 per day.
The varied programs and housing options tended to grow out of the needs of the people as opposed to direct planning, especially in the early years. The homes started at the Youth Farm were: the Invalid Home (1944) that became the Mennonite Nursing Home in 1965, the Children’s Home (1953-1971), the Home for the Mentally Handicapped (1954-1956) that evolved into the Men’s Home (1956-1973) and the Women’s Home (1956-1968), Country Gardens (1988) and Pineview Manor (1994). The homes still in operation are the Mennonite Nursing Home, Pineview Manor, and Country Gardens.
May 14, 1944 was the start of the Invalid Home and after its opening it quickly filled to a capacity of 11 residents. The work hours for staff were long—starting at 5:00 am until supper with meal breaks—seven days per week. The work time did not necessarily end at supper because staff continued to work while there was work to be done. By 1946 the Invalid Home was getting an addition to be able to house more people. From 1944-1954 all funding came from donations. In 1954, $40 per bed per year was accepted from the government as long as the Board retained full administrative control. From 1960-1970 funding changed from donations to government sponsorship. In 1963 they moved from a 6 day work week to 5 days per week and the length of days was reduced from 12 to 8 hours per day. In 1966 the Minimum Wage Law changed wages from $60 per month to $165 per month. A new building was constructed in 1967-68, with another 36 bed addition in 1989. In 2000-2001 a renovation of the Nursing Home building changed 2 person rooms to 1 person rooms. This places the current capacity of the Nursing Home at 68 residents.
The heart of the Nursing Home, which has been its primary focus since the early days, is serving others. We will continue to dedicate our energy, time, and resources to meeting personal, physical, and spiritual needs of our residents.