Elderly people in Bridgewater building fear eviction

David George Bryant, 90, moved to Drumlin Hills in the town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia nearly a decade ago because his memory was failing.

He and his wife were burning their dinners after forgetting them on the stove.

Bryant therefore chose an assisted living suite in Drumlin Hills while his wife moved into a nearby long-term care home. This way, he could visit her three times a week and continue to receive catering and housekeeping services in her apartment.

Today, Bryant, along with other people living in assisted living facilities, are worried about their future. Last week they received notice from Rosedale Investments Limited – the company that bought the building this year – that the three daily meals, weekly housekeeping and staff assistance will cease on November 30 and will no longer be included in their leases.

Many seniors in the building fear being evicted because they cannot fend for themselves.

Drumlin Hills was originally built by Atlantic Baptist Housing over 20 years ago. It is now privately owned and receives no government funding.

The only cooking appliances in Bryant’s kitchen: a kettle, a toaster and a rice cooker. (Robert Short/CBC)

“Change happens so suddenly…and change is not a good thing” for seniors, says Bryant.

The building has 24 assisted care units where residents receive assistance with meals, laundry and cleaning. There are also 72 self-contained living units that allow seniors to downsize their homes while doing their own cooking.

Residents of Drumlin Hills chat outside the building. (Robert Short/CBC)

Bryant says tenants unexpectedly received forms asking them to accept new leases last week.

“I have too many people coming to me with a form saying to fill it out, are you going here next, or are you going to do this next. I want to know, what’s next? What am I getting into?” he said.

Residents of Drumlin Hills have been advised that many services will cease by November 30. (Provided by residents of Drumlin Hills)

The Drumlin Hills administrator declined to comment on the changes outlined in the letters. (Provided by residents of Drumlin Hills)

The monthly rent has been reduced but so have the services. The letter states that “rent will now include a stove and dishwasher. Units will be converted with new appliances as they become vacant. Tenants will either be moved into completed units or work will be done. performed in their current unit. Alternatively, you could have a toaster oven added to your current unit (not a dishwasher or oven) and turn off Enhanced Services on September 1, 2022.”

feels in danger

Bryant says having a stove in the apartment isn’t safe for someone with memory loss. He says he will refuse a stove in his apartment, which would leave him to fend for himself without proper cooking equipment.

An 80-year-old couple spoke to CBC about their concerns, but declined to be named or appear on camera because they feared their living conditions were getting worse.

The couple moved into the building a few years ago because of the communal environment where like-minded people can interact, eat and enjoy activities together.

The Drumlin Hills entrance sign reads “A project of Atlantic Baptist Senior Citizens Homes Inc.” The building was purchased by private company Rosedale Investments Limited this year. (Robert Short/CBC)

“We spoke to a few people this morning who are afraid of just being kept out of the building, basically because they can no longer support themselves, like shopping, cooking, etc. he says.

“We have two tenants who are over 100 years old. I don’t know how they’ll do,” she added.

Worried families

Tanya Wentzell of Lunenberg worries about her mother-in-law in Drumlin Hills. She says that with the housing crisis, there aren’t many options.

A couple in their 80s living in Drumlin Hills spoke to the CBC. They refused to appear on camera as they feared the living conditions would worsen. (Robert Short/CBC)

“At the moment his unit only has a microwave, fridge and sink. So we’re trying to figure that out and we don’t have a lot of time to do that.

“We put our family members there thinking it was a permanent place… And now that may not be the case.”

Halifax Port Properties

The owner of Drumlin Hills, Rosedale Investments Limited, is part of Halifax Harbor Properties and both are owned by Joseph C. Arab.

When CBC reached out, a representative from Halifax Harbor Properties said she had been instructed not to comment on the sale.

The administrator of Rosedale Investments Limited who sent the letters to Drumlin Hills tenants declined to comment on the sale. She said “absolutely no comment”, don’t call again and hung up the phone.

The landlord made headlines five years ago when a couple looking for an apartment said the Arab Brotherhood, another Arab-owned company, asked them to put a deposit with their application. The practice is illegal in Nova Scotia.

The mayor asks the province to help him

Bridgewater Mayor David Mitchell said that because the building is zoned as multi-unit residential and listed as a private business, there is nothing the city can do to keep the assisted living units as they are.

With only one other facility in Lunenburg County for seniors, he says this situation is extremely concerning.

“I don’t know where these people will go or what they will do,” said Mitchell, whose father also lived in Drumlin Hills.

Bridgewater Mayor David Mitchell says it is in the interests of residents and the province to maintain services at Drumlin Hills assisted living facilities. (Robert Short/CBC)

“It’s for people who can’t live fully and independently in their own homes, and they’re nowhere near where they should be in long-term care. So it’s given them the dignity and independence they need. to live on their own while taking care of their meals and things like that.”

Last week, Mitchell sent an email to the province saying they have a role to play and should intervene.

CBC also reached out to the province. Khalehla Perrault, communications and media relations adviser with Nova Scotia Seniors and Long-term Care, said the building is not licensed or funded by the government, so the department will not take action.

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