Saturday, May 21, 2016

Excessive Ongoing Repairs Force Shutdown Of 20-Story Montreal-Area, Jewish-Tradition Retirement Home, Leaves 171 Mostly English-Speaking, Kosher-Observant Canadian Seniors Facing The Boot; Dozens Fear Having Nowhere To Go

In Côte-St-Luc, Quebec, the Montreal Gazette reports:
  • Anne Barbis pushed her walker slowly outside the Castel Royal seniors’ residence Friday morning, a look of anxiety crossing the 98-year-old’s face as she contemplated the prospect of being uprooted from her home within a year. A private attendant followed closely behind, making sure Barbis wouldn’t fall.

    “I’m shocked,” said Barbis, who moved into the 20-storey Côte-St-Luc building two years ago, thinking it would be her final place of residence.

    “I can’t believe it,” she added. “I haven’t got a clue where I’m going to move now.”

    On Tuesday, staff at the Castel Royal slipped notices under the doors of all the apartments informing the 171 residents — some of whom are in their 90s and Holocaust survivors — they will have to be relocated within the next 12 months because of plumbing and other problems in the building.

    Chartwell Retirement Residences, which runs the Castel Royal, announced it has hired a placement agency to find new homes for the tenants, and will pay the full cost of moving everyone. But Côte-St-Luc has run out of private assisted-living units for semi-autonomous seniors after the Manoir Montefiore closed last year.

    Most of those living in the Castel Royal are Jewish, eat kosher and want to stay in Côte-St-Luc.

    “This is a crisis in our seniors’ community, particularly our Jewish community, where the resources for anglo residences are dwindling,” said Bonnie Sandler, a geriatric consultant.

    After the Manoir Montefiore closed, its residents were relocated to Le Waldorf, an upscale assisted-living facility on Côte-St-Luc Rd. But that retirement home is now full, with a waiting list to get in. Although there are other retirement homes in the Montreal area, most don’t offer a kosher menu, as the Castel Royal did.

    “This is a very sad situation,” Sandler added. “Some of the residents will relocate to the West Island or move to be closer to their children in other cities like Toronto. But that still leaves about 100 residents who want to stay in Côte-St-Luc. Who is looking out for them?”

    Chartwell, which operates a chain of retirement homes across North America, acquired the Castel Royal about 10 years ago. Over the years, it has renovated the property, but in the past five months the building was hit with four floods. For two days last winter, there was no heating, prompting Chartwell to put up some of the residents at hotels.

    “We’ve had building issues here for many, many years,” said Marie-France Lemay, Chartwell’s vice-president of operational business services in Quebec. “We’ve had to invest more than $5 million over the past four years (in repairs and renovations), and we’ve just come to the decision that this building is not suited to be a retirement home.”
    The Castel Royal was charging about $3,000 a month per resident for accommodations, two meals a day, housekeeping and nursing supervision. Although the ground-floor synagogue was renovated recently, much of the brick and concrete exterior is in need of repair. Workers have spray-painted yellow circles around craters in the concrete pavement near the main entrance.