Care home closing on Muskeg Lake First Nation
A decision to close a long-term care home on the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation has residents scrambling to find new places to live.
The facility is slated to close Aug. 6, after the First Nation determined it was too expensive to operate.
Residents were informed of the decision several weeks ago.
At that time, 25 of the 30 beds were occupied, mostly by elderly residents.
"I was really sad when that happened," Myrtle Ouellette, 89, told CBC News about her reaction to hearing the news. "I cried for hours — all night — one night after I heard that."
Ouellette, who turns 90 in just a couple of weeks, has found a new place to stay in nearby Blaine Lake.
Most of the other residents have already moved since receiving the news. One person in the home died after the closure was announced.
As of Wednesday, there were six people still in the home, including Ouellette. Two of them were still working to find new accommodations.
The reserve is about 130 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.
The home opened just four years ago and now staff are saying goodbye to people they have cared for.
"It's bad. It's hard," Mary Rose Arcand, one of the care home workers, said Wednesday. "It's hard to see them go. And now the place is so empty."
"They were all so loving. Caring," Ouellette said of the staff. "Everything was fantastic."
The care was special, in part, because the first nation elders could get care in their own language.
The closure also means 50 staff will be out of work when the doors close in a few days.
As they have been scrambling to find new homes for the residents, the workers have had no time to find replacement jobs.
Ouellette said she would have preferred to stay.
"I had a sister here with me and I always told her I would live here until I passed on," she said.