Moyra Jones at Valleyview Project

Moyra Jones at Valleyview Project

1950s graduation photo of young woman wearing white cap and nurses costume with dark hair
Moyra Jones in 1957, a young occupational/ physio graduate.

Moyra Jones and her work at Valleyview is the subject of a teaching unit in our Mad School resources. From the late 1970s into the 1990s, Jones was an innovator and a leader in BC’s gerontology community. She worked with elderly veterans at the George Derby Centre in Burnaby and then as director of rehabilitation services at Valleyview Hospital, a geriatric facility at Riverview Hospital, BC’s Coquitlam provincial mental health facility. Then she went on to publish Gentlecare: Changing the Experience of Alzheimer’s Disease, presenting a radical philosophical and practice model for dementia care that was adopted by BC’s Ministry of Health, agencies and facilities across Canada and in the United States and Italy.

A futuristic thinker, Jones came to Valleyview with an agenda – she was committed to building a multi-disciplinary rehab team that would break outside the medical model to offer seniors with dementia a basket of different therapeutic options, including occupational and music therapy, pastoral care, and regular visits from a hairdresser. Always interested in promoting new care options that respected people with dementia, Jones made films on dementia, long-term care, and music therapy while she worked at Valleyview.

1930s and 1950s institutional buildings on wooded and grassy hillside, view of the ocean behind.
Valleyview Buildings with older Home for the Aged in foreground.

In 2014 historian Megan Davies was working on the Re-Imagining Long Term Residential Care project, an international, multidisciplinary effort to locate and make public promising practices in this neglected care sector. Intrigued by what she heard about Jones’s work, Davies tracked down former colleagues for a series of video-taped interviews and located an extensive collection of professional material left by this pioneering innovator in geriatric mental health. Most well-known for the GentleCare approach to dementia care that she developed and marketed across North America and Europe, during her time at Valleyview Jones was instrumental in gaining local acceptance for music therapy in Vancouver’s geriatric care sector.

Click on the links in the right hand menu to access the complete video-taped interviews and archival footage of Moyra Jones leading a 1990s workshop on good dementia care.

For further analysis of Jones’ career see: Megan J. Davies, 2017, “A Humanist in the House of Old: Moyra Jones and Early Dementia Care in Canada,” Journal of Canadian Studies, vol. 50, no. 2: 446-481.