PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Robert Wyner delivered flowers to his 96-year-old mother Rose Friday along with some very bad news. Charles Morris Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center In Squirrel Hill is closing come Jan. 12, its 104 employees will need new jobs and the families of Rose and about 50 other residents will need to find them new places to live.
“I don’t know that she’s going to get the level of care and the level of caring she gets here. Honest to God, they treat my mom like she is their mom,” he said.
In a statement to the families, the Jewish Association on Aging, which operates the home, expressed heartbreaking regret but cited a perfect storm of challenges: COVID has dramatically increased the cost of care while Medicaid reimbursements fall far short of closing the gap.
And they’re not alone. In a recent survey of 463 nursing homes conducted by the American Health Care Association, 72 percent said at the current pace of losses they cannot last a year and 40 percent said they’re at risk of closing within six months.
Denise Rickenbrode’s 102-year-old mother Antonia remains spry and good-spirited despite having survived a bout with COVID and a broken hip. But Denise worries about the impact of relocating her.
“The thought of picking her up and putting her somewhere else at 102 — I’m very concerned that she will become disengaged. And she’ll feel like she’s not part of a community anymore,” she said.
Rickenbrode believes the government must step in to avoid cascading closures in the coming year.
“I think it’s time to recognize that we need to step up and we need to take care of our elderly,” she said.
The Jewish Association on Aging says it is working now to assist families in finding new homes and employees in finding new positions, but emphasized how extremely painful decision is.