Nova Scotia

Families make desperate bid to keep Halifax-area care home from closing

With three weeks to go until a Halifax-area care home is slated to close, the family members of its residents are making a desperate bid to keep it open by proposing to take over operations.

Residents' loved ones want to take over operations of the Adelaide to keep it open

The Adelaide Senior Care Home is an unlicensed long-term care facility in Waverley, N.S. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

With three weeks to go until a Halifax-area care home is slated to close, the family members of its residents are making a desperate bid to keep it open. 

Residents received notice on Jan. 29 that the Adelaide Senior Care Home in Waverley, N.S., would close permanently at the end of February, with the owner saying he could no longer afford to keep it operating.

Yvonne Fenwick said the news was devastating for her because the Adelaide has been a good home for her 50-year-old son who has an intellectual disability.

She met with the families of the six other residents, who shared in her devastation, and together they came up with an idea — stay, and operate the care home themselves.

Fenwick envisions keeping the same staff on board, and transitioning to a non-profit model — a process that she does not expect to happen quickly.

"What we need right now is some time," Fenwick said.

"We hope that maybe three months will be enough to figure it out ... maybe at the end of the day, we can't do it. Maybe at the end of three months everyone will have to move and do something different."

Yvonne Fenwick's 50-year-old son has lived in Adelaide Senior Care Home for the past eight years. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

Whether or not that idea turns out to be viable, Fenwick said none of the residents are prepared to move at the end of the month.

The families of several other residents echoed that in interviews with CBC. 

Bill Martin said there is no back-up plan for his 92-year-old father, who has lived at the Adelaide for about four months. Martin said his father is on the provincial long-term care wait list, but he was recently advised placement is likely six months away.

"It's gonna be a panic situation," he said of the planned closure date.

Sharon Jones moved both her parents into the Adelaide in the summer of 2019 and said she doesn't know what she'll do if they have to leave by month's end.

"They both had settled in so well there. I thought that that would have been their last move," Jones said.

Owner sees no way for clients to stay

Owner Jody Munn said he would consider leasing and eventually selling the building to the families, but he doesn't imagine it's a practical solution. 

"Unfortunately the clients there would still have to move in the meantime," Munn said.

Fire officials have been telling Munn for years that the building requires extensive upgrades to meet safety standards, including new sprinklers and fire doors. 

Munn has said that the Adelaide has been a money pit since he bought it in 2015, and that he simply can't afford the upgrades, which he estimates will cost upwards of $300,000.

When announcing the closure plans, Munn said a driving factor in the decision was the possibility of incurring fines for failing to bring the building up to code.

"What the city is asking us to do is going to apply to [the families]. It doesn't matter who the owner is," Munn said.

"Even if these upgrades started next month … they probably couldn't live there while all of this construction is going on in there."

'I admire that they want to keep it open'

Still, he said he's open to working with the families to ensure a smooth transition to whatever comes next. 

"I admire that they want to keep it open and I'd love to do it. I think it just financially is not going to make sense for anybody. Unless they have … more money than they know what to do with, as the saying goes."

The home — a 19th-century Victorian house near Lake William — was listed for sale last May, with a price drop in January. Its sale status recently changed to pending, but Munn said the agreement has fallen through. 

"We have people poking around a bit … according to my realtor we've got interest coming in from emails and calls all the time, it's just, I don't think anyone wants to take it one while there's still clients in there."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Taryn Grant

Reporter

Taryn Grant is a Halifax-based reporter and web writer for CBC Nova Scotia. You can email her with tips and feedback at taryn.grant@cbc.ca

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