Below is a story that I listened to once which broke my heart! It is available on NPR, StoryCorps is a national nonprofit that gives people the chance to interview friends and loved ones about their lives. This conversation was archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, allowing participants to leave a legacy for future generations. Visit: storycorps.org
When an assisted living home in California shut down in fall of 2014, many of its residents were left behind, with nowhere to go. The staff at the Valley Springs Manor left when they stopped getting paid - except for cook Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez, the janitor.
"There were about 16 residents left behind, and we had a conversation in the kitchen asking, "What are we going to do?" Rowland says. "If we left, they wouldn't have nobody," the 34 year old Alvarez said.
Their roles quickly transformed for the elderly residents, who needed round the clock care. "I would only go home for one hour, take a shower, get dressed, then be there for 24-hour days," says Alvarez. Rowland, 35, remembers passing out medications during those long days. He says he didn't want to leave the residents - some coping with dementia - to fend for themselves.
"I just couldn't see myself going home-next thing you know, they're in the kitchen trying to cook their own food and burn the place down," Rowland said. "Even though they weren't family, they were kind of like our family for this short period of time."
For Alvarez, the situation brought back memories from his childhood. "My parents, when they were younger, left me abandoned," he says. "Knowing how they are going to feel, I didn't want them to go through that."
Alvarez and Rowland spent several days caring for the elderly residents of Valley Springs Manor until the fire department and sheriff took over. This incident led to legislation in California known as the Residential Care for the Elderly Reform Act of 2014.
"If I would've left, I think that would have been on my conscience for a very long time," says Rowland.
This story made me very curious so I searched for more and found this:
REDWOOD CITY, California – The state of California recently revoked the licenses of a Filipino mother and daughter who allegedly committed multiple violations while operating various residential care facilities in the Bay Area.
The state handed down a lifetime ban to Herminigilda Manuel and her daughter Mary Julleah from owning and managing any residential care facility in California.
The Manuels formerly operated Sundial Palms Assisted Living in Modesto, Eden Manor Facility in Oakland, and Valley Springs Manor in Castro Valley.
According to the State Department of Social Services, the Manuels violations included under-staffing, not providing sufficient meals for residents, and failing to supervise seniors.
In their facilities in Oakland and Castro Valley, about 15 residents were reportedly abandoned after it was shut down by the state in October.
While they are both banned for operating residential care homes for life, Mary Julleah can apply for reinstatement or a reduced penalty after one year?
As a State Certified Assisted Living Core Trainer, I have to say that this situation would never have happened in Florida. Here in Florida, we are governed by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) who not only licenses ALF facilities but governs everything that has to do with eldercare. As trainer of future ALF owners, preparing them for the Competency Exam, I not only teach the Florida Statutes and Administrative Code, I prepare students to follow the law or deal with the wrath of AHCA. I cannot believe that the State Department of Social Services in California allowed this ALF to keep 15 elderly in place until November after revoking licenses in October. Thank God that these two workers had the good sense to continue meeting the needs of these seniors until the fire department and sheriff arrived and took over. These men are Heroes! What these men did is amazing and shows that there is hope in times of need.
Please feel free to comment and let us know how you feel about this situation in California. Thank you.
Posted: 12th of March, 2016 by Olga Brunner
Labels: California aged, disabled, elderly, long term care, assisted living, agency for health care administration, AHCA
I Have worn many hats in my day: Nursing Home Assistant Admin and Activities Director, Assisted Living Admin, Case Management for the State-wide Medicaid Program, and Trainer for Dept of Elder Affairs.