Alpacas are great therapy pets and play a central role in the new plan. (Dan Ferguson photo)

Alpacas are great therapy pets and play a central role in the new plan. (Dan Ferguson photo)

Growing old with alpacas: Coldstream residents look to build farm-style senior living

The project is modelled after projects in Europe and is planned to start in fall 2023.

A pair of Coldstream residents – who live on a farm with their 38 alpacas – are planning a unique project that would create a peaceful space for seniors to live.

Wendy Niklaus and Alfons Grabosch are the developers of the plan, with a goal launch of fall 2023, and told Black Press Media that the concept would model similar projects from in Scandinavia and Germany.

“I’m 70 now and we asked ourselves, what do we do when we can’t do the hard farm work anymore, but we want to stay with our animals,” Grabosch said.

Grabosch, a retired surgeon, and Niklaus, a retired nurse, each have decades of clinical experience in Germany and Abu Dhabi. They moved to Canada in 2015 and set up their alpaca ranch in Coldstream shortly after.

The hope is to offer independent and assisted living for seniors in an eco-friendly, sustainable environment.

When they arrived, they noticed much of the ageing population in B.C. were farmers with children that had moved to urban centres.

“We want to offer seniors the opportunity to spend the remaining years of their life with animals in a small community of like-minded people,” he said.

The hope is for seniors to take on projects as long as they’re capable, such as gardening, knitting and chores around the farm.

Alpacas play a central role in the plan, as they are great therapy pets, according to Grabosch.

“They have very friendly habits and cute behaviour, they really do encourage and improve the quality of life of people which surround them.”

The first step for the pair is finding a different piece of land that can accommodate them and is zoned properly. Second, they hope to staff the farm with capable health-care workers.

The pair said they have already received verbal support from the city and province.

They are currently seeking investors that will see dividends of any profit the farm makes.

READ MORE: North Okanagan alpaca embryo transfer program yields top fleece

READ MORE: ‘One of the toughest days we’ve had’: time running out for Llama Sanctuary near Chase facing eviction


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