Family members are outraged over a letter telling residents of Manoir Notre-Dame special care home in Moncton, N.B., to ration their toilet paper and buy their own facial tissues.

"I think it really shows a lack of respect, dignity and compassion," said Dianne Leger, whose 88-year-old mother has been living at Manoir Notre-Dame for five years.

The family has requested the woman's name not be revealed. 

Leger pays $2,400 a month in rent for a small room, so was shocked the privately-owned special care home would cut back on something so essential. 

"You got to ask yourself ... what else are you cutting that we're not aware of," she said.

Leger said it all started Saturday afternoon, when she got a call from her mother, who was clearly upset, and asked her to pick up some toilet paper.

Dianne Leger

Dianne Leger's mother has been at Manoir Notre-Dame for five years. She was appalled to learn residents are being denied toilet paper. (CBC)

Leger admits she was skeptical when her mother first told her staff had refused to give her toilet paper to use in the bathroom.

Letter to residents

But after Leger arrived at Manoir Notre-Dame, she said, she found a letter dated Aug. 2 that was addressed to residents.

The letter said because of an increase in costs, it was limiting rolls of toilet paper to two a week per resident, to be distributed on Mondays.

The letter also said the home would no longer be giving out facial tissues. 

Manoir Notre Dame

Residents of Manoir Notre-Dame received this letter dated Aug. 2. (CBC)

Anita LeBlanc, Leger's partner, said they didn't receive so much as a phone call to let them know things were changing.

"I was appalled," said LeBlanc.

In a Facebook post that ended up going viral, LeBlanc vented her frustrations to warn others who may not have been aware of the situation. 

"My mother-in-law is very fortunate that she can still call us, and still ask for help, and we're there for her when she needs us," she said. "Not all seniors living in that home have somebody they can call, and somebody they can ask for help. And some of them can't even speak, or are not able to get by."
Dianne Leger, Anita LeBlanc

Leger and partner Anita LeBlanc say they are appalled by the move, and are considering moving Leger's mother. (CBC)

The family reported the home to adult protection, the branch of the Department of Social Development that deals with questions of abuse and neglect to seniors or people with disability.

The couple plans to look for a new place for Leger's mother.

CBC has reached out to the Department of Social Development, but has not yet heard back.

Misunderstanding says owner

The owner of the special care home, Valmond Robichaud, originally denied a request for an interview. But he spoke to Radio-Canada Monday, saying in an interview that this was all a misunderstanding.

The letter didn't properly communicate the home's intent, Robichaud said.

He said the objective of the letter was to keep people from abusing the system, saying some residents take up to 10 rolls of toilet paper a week, leaving none for other residents.

A new letter will be sent to residents to clarify the issue, he added. 

"If there are some who need more [toilet paper], we'll give it to them," Robichaud said in French. "There was no one here who was denied toilet paper; that's not true."