Senior Living Center closing leaves elderly with no place to go

Senior Living Center closing leaves elderly with no place to go

A Spokane senior living center is being forced to shut down. The owner is no longer able to afford to keep it running and many of the senior citizens who live there are now left without a place to go.

May 1 is the last day the doors will be open is at South Hill Senior Living in the Cooper George building.

72-year-old James Kelty has been staying at South Hill Senior Living for the past five years. He came here after his best friend passed away.

“His children talked me into assisted living because I’m so forgetful and I forget that I’m cooking I may burn the house down,” Kelty said.

Kelty said the low cost apartment building feels like home;a place where friends feel more like family.

But, Executive Director Leane Austin says the owner can not afford to keep the building open since Medicaid payments and reimbursements are so low.

“Medicaid reimbursement rates have been flat for about 10 years, so they have not kept up with inflation and cost of care,” said Austin.

Of the 67 seniors living at the center, 63 are on Medicaid.

“So because of that, we have not been able to stay open,’ Austin said.

Leaving seniors, like Kelty, with no place to go.

“Devastated. I expected to die here and I have no idea where I’m going. The fear level is very high for all of us. The thing that bothers me the most is I’ve formed friendships,” Kelty said.

“I just feel like geez whiz I thought I was going to stay here you know. We are family and close. It’s hard to know everyone’s going different places. We ill miss everybody. Whatever God plans, I can go along with that,” said 76-year-old Marilyn Gray.

The staff is worried about where they will work next. Austin says local senior centers have offered to take in some residents and give staff jobs, but nothing is 100% certain yet.

“As far as myself, I’m not sure what I’m going to do.We all need to stand up. We all need to support our seniors,” Austin said.