Countryside closure was heartbreaking
We should recognize and remember the destruction of trust and devastation of lives that occurred at Countryside Care Center in Delhi. New York officials abruptly announced its closure.
Due to the lack of nursing home beds, the immediate transfer of a loved one was impossible, so the state contracted with a conglomerate to accept residents. These nursing homes are located in Albany, Amsterdam, Cortland and Rockland County, making visitation impossible for families and friends.
Selection of placement was made by a state tribunal whose members had no knowledge of or responsibility for residents’ emotional well-being.
Visiting Countryside during the forced evacuation, I found residents in wheelchairs, clutching manila envelopes, clothes and possessions stuffed into plastic bags, pushed into vans and driven off. Dedicated staff watched and wept in grief and anger.
No one without power of attorney, or a designated next-of-kin, could be told destinations, even as they kissed them good-bye.
I sat in barren rooms with residents not yet moved, hearing the same questions over and over: “Where am I going?” “When am I going?”
It is galling to hear that Countryside may be reopened soon. Does management not understand the trauma that this diaspora created in the lives of fragile individuals and those who love them?
Lives will be shortened, psyches damaged beyond repair; frail and ill elderly have suffered a loss of any sense of safety and care. To have put so many people through such agony is unforgivable, especially if the intention is to reopen the facility soon.
The forced dislocation could have been postponed for a short time.
Amid rumors of the sale of other nursing homes, I urge families to be vigilant that secret plans are not being made to close them.
Rev. Carol Wilson