Closure came as a surprise to many residents
Ontario’s Minister of Seniors and Accessibility retracted a statement made in the legislature on Nov. 7 in which he explained the reason for Davenhill Senior Living’s closure. Raymond Cho originally said that the facility closed due to safety concerns. In a correction made in legislature later that day, he said that he was actually speaking about another retirement home.
The chair of Davenhill’s board of directors, Dan Tomlinson, wrote in his letter of closure that the board made the decision to close the facility following an extensive review that determined the closure of the facility was inevitable.
NDP MPP Jessica Bell asked Cho during question period about Betty Robinson, who is one of two residents left at the home.
“Betty is 97 years old and lives at Davenhill. She doesn’t want to leave, and she’s fighting this forced removal as best as she can. But Davenhill is calling her incessantly, asking her when she’s going to leave,” Bell said. “They’re closing entire floors, they’re threatening to cancel meal programs and they’re even selling the furniture, even though Betty has never been served with an official eviction notice.”
Bell also wrote a letter to the minister in August to ask for a review of the Retirement Homes Act (RHA) for better protection for seniors like Robinson. Cho responded by saying the act is “just fine as it is,” according to Bell.
The announcement of its closure came as a surprise to many residents, as they were given a positive financial report at the recent Davenhill’s town hall meeting in late February.
Davenhill’s finance and administration manager Glenn Goertzen said at the meeting, “Davenhill had returned to profitability during those six months [from July 1 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018] and that revenue was increased over the same period in the previous year.”
Goertzen added that the memory care units on the fourth floor for residents with dementia was a huge success and that it had 38 prospective residents on the waitlist. Residents like Betty Robinson and their family members also assumed Davenhill is closing due to financial issues, prior to the legislative meeting.
Vice-president of Davenhill’s transition company Sylvia Watts sent an email to Dianne Robinson Oct. 1 to notify her about the change of closure date.
“There are approximately 30 residents still at Davenhill, and they will all be moved out by October 31st,” Watts said. “Transitions by Greenhouse has helped every resident of Davenhill – will you let us help you too?”
Davenhill has a legal responsibility to operate and provide care services until Nov. 30, in accordance with the notice Davenhill submitted to the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA).
“The RHRA confirms that Davenhill Senior Living has provided notice to the RHRA that the home intends to close at the end of November 2019, as has been reported in the media,” the RHRA’s website states.
Correction, Nov. 14, 2019: This story originally stated that Raymond Cho provided a reason for the closure of Davenhill Senior Living in the legislature on Nov. 7. Cho corrected himself that same day, stating that he was referring to another retirement centre. We apologize for the error.