Saturday, May 14, 2016

Sale Of Decades-Old Assisted Living Facility Leads To The Boot For Over Two Dozen Seniors, Leaves Equal Number Of Staff Members Looking For Work

In Clovis, New Mexico, the Clovis News Journal reports:
  • Just when they thought they were settled down to live out their retirement years, residents at the Clovis Senior Citizen Resident Center are looking for new homes.

    The nonprofit Christian-based community is shutting down on June 1, more than six decades after it opened.

    “We have sold the property and the facility, and the new owners don’t feel as if their mission with the property is to have an assisted living facility here,” said Senior Citizen Resident Center Administrator Bobby Jack Stewart.

    Stewart said there are other factors, such as state regulations requiring a new sprinkler system, but the primary reason for closing is the new owners are “moving a different direction than an assisted living facility.”

    Stewart said a local church is purchasing the facility, but he could not comment on which church or what they plan to do with the property because the sale is not complete.

    The facility opened 67 years ago, Stewart said. In 1990, it became an assisted living facility.

    “We were the oldest state-licensed assisted living facility in the state of New Mexico,” Stewart said. “Back then it opened under the terminology ‘new and innovative’ because they hadn’t even invented the name ‘assisted living’ at that point.”

    “Now they (assisted living facilities) are all over the place, but there’s not that many in Clovis.”

    Today, the center is home to 26 senior citizens and an equal number of employees.

    The residents are in the process of finding new homes, and they’re not happy about it, according to Stewart. “Most senior adults … they don’t like a lot of change,” Stewart said. “It’s not been real favorable.”

    Additionally, employees will be in need of jobs. One in particular is Virginia Shonkwiler, the assistant administrator. “I’m very sad,” Shonkwiler said. “It breaks my heart that we have to close our doors.”

    Starting out as the dietary director for 17 years, Shonkwiler has been with the organization for 25 years. “It’s like a second family here. It’s another home to go to. You get so connected with the residents and the employees … It’s just been a privilege and joy to work with the elderly, and we’re really going to miss everybody.”

    Stewart said he uses his Christian faith to remain hopeful about the future. “The good Lord knows what’s going on and will take care of us,” he said. “I believe that with all my heart.”