Residents of a P.E.I. community care facility need to find new homes by Dec. 31

Residents and staff were notified on Oct. 31 the facility would be closing before the new year. (Ken Linton/CBC - image credit)
Residents and staff were notified on Oct. 31 the facility would be closing before the new year. (Ken Linton/CBC - image credit)

The Mews community care assisted living facility in Margate has given all residents 60 days' notice that they will be closing their doors.

About a dozen residents will have to find new accommodations by Dec. 31.

"Since COVID hit it's just been difficult.," said the facility's owner Robin Holman.

"The cost of living is just, you know, getting very high for a small place like ourselves. So, we are just trying our best to stay afloat. So, unfortunately we just have to think about our future as well," he said.

"It's very tough for the residents and staff and family members."

Residents and staff were notified on Oct. 31 the facility would be closing before the new year, Holman said.

"If we don't make a move now for ourselves ... we are just afraid that we will get into some, you know, trouble."

Ken Linton/CBC
Ken Linton/CBC

The P.E.I. government subsidizes some residents, but in the legislature on Thursday, Green MLA Michele Beaton said the contract the government has with the home expired two years ago and the province has failed to renew it.

That means operators are still locked in at a rate that doesn't factor in the current costs to operate, Holman said.

Minister of Social Development and Housing Matthew MacKay said he has been working with his department to figure out how to stop the closure.

"We need to make sure that these community care facilities can make some money and we need to make sure that there's beds for these seniors," MacKay said in the legislature on Thursday.

Ken Linton/CBC
Ken Linton/CBC

Holman said he's attempted to contact members of the provincial government to see if any help could be offered.

"There just hasn't been any informal, you know, tangible response."

Holman said it will take a "miracle" to keep the assisted living facility open. However he said he did hear from some people who are interested in purchasing the facility and are willing to continue running it as a community care facility.

"There is some hope there," he said. "Maybe we will make enough noise that somebody can hear in the government that smaller places like ourselves do feel the crunch," he said.

Holman doesn't think it is anyone's fault the facility has to close.

"I think it's just a systemic issue," he said. "It's just an unfortunate time for everybody ... my wife and our main concern is having to uproot all the residents, you know, that was a really tough thing to do."

CBC/Zoom
CBC/Zoom

About 47 cents for every dollar the province spends on public care homes goes to private home operators, said Ramsay Duff,  president of the Nursing Homes Association of P.E.I. and CEO of MacLeod Group of seniors' homes.

"If a large home closes, where are those residents going to go?," he said, adding many in community care don't have relatives who are equipped to help seniors at home.

"This is going to come to a head very quickly. A number of operators are faced with serious financial issues."

Duff said it's not acceptable that the government hasn't yet come to the table to talk with the operators of The Mews.

"What a horrific bind that that owner is being put into," he said.

"Having dedicated their careers to caring for residents, treating their employees fairly and now faced with that decision to close because government wouldn't come to the table to fund properly."

More private homes could find themselves in a similar situation soon because they need more funding and new contracts, officials with the Nursing Home Association said in a release Thursday.