Caregivers to fight to keep May Bennett open

News release

Union fears health and well-being of residents will be affected by threatened closure

One hundred and fifty caregivers and members of the community rallied at noon Sept. 27 in front of May Bennett Home in Rutland after receiving the shocking news that this non-profit facility will be closing its doors.

The Okanagan Similkameen Health Region informed 30 staff members this morning that the home to 24 elderly and frail residents will be closed at an undisclosed time. When pressed about the timeline, they said maybe in three or four months.

“Just in time for Christmas,” says Zorica Bosancic, HEU assistant secretary-business manager.

The employer is also being close-mouthed, says Bosancic, about where the residents will be moved. “Our members are worried that residents will be sent to a for-profit facility,” she says.

“This is a serious issue for the seniors and their families because about 80 per cent of residents in not for-profit long-term care facilities like May Bennett are low-income, and it is standard practice in many for-profit facilities to charge for `extras’ like toothpaste and bandaids, extras they may have to do without,” Bosancic says.

Debbie Finlay, a long-term care aide at May Bennett Home, is worried that the stress of the move may prove fatal to some of the residents. “Just when society should be treating them with respect and kindness a move like this could kill them,” she says.

Bosancic said that part of the campaign to keep May Bennett Home open will include lobbying local politicians like Kelowna-Mission MLA and Minister of Health Planning Sindi Hawkins. “This rally is just the beginning of the fight to keep May Bennett open and to keep it public,” she says.