Smith Lodge closing means residents have to find new homes

Smith Lodge, a community care facility in Charlottetown, will be closing its doors Feb. 3. and is now in the process of finding new placements for its 20 residents.

The lodge is one of several private community-care facilities on P.E.I. that provide some help with daily living for people who can't live at home — seniors and people with mental and physical disabilities — but who do not require full nursing home care.

The lodge has been open since 2002 and is owned by Dianne Smith. In a statement to CBC News, her daughter Leone Dixon said Smith is retiring. 

"Operating the lodge has been a labour of love for ownership, but ultimately as retirement draws near it was determined that continuing to operate is not a viable option."

Residents were told of the impending closure last week.

'Just scrambling' 

Mary Phalen's mother has lived at Smith Lodge for more than two years. Phalen said the news came as a shock. 

Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC

"It's just scrambling. You know there's a housing crisis, and there's always people on waiting lists to get into care facilities," Phalen said.  

"She's not going to be on the street, but she needs care." 

Dixon said staff members are working to find new homes for each resident. She said about 70 per cent have either found a spot, or are tentatively placed.

Phalen said there's a potential spot for her mother, but it is outside of Charlottetown, which she said would mean "more isolation, which is what seniors deal with a lot."

"Moving her out of Charlottetown where her family is, isn't ideal." 

'As smooth a transition as possible'

As well as working with residents and their families, Dixon said Smith Lodge is making efforts to support staff members during the transition. 

That includes connecting the lodge's 10 employees with similar facilities that might be hiring, as well as offering career counselling. 

"Our number one goal is to make this as smooth a transition as possible for both staff and residents."

Dixon said the owners are exploring the options for the building, and would not confirm if they intend to sell it. 

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