ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. – A nursing home in New Athens, Illinois closed Thursday, giving 40 residents a couple of weeks to find a new place to live.
In a small town, the New Athens Home for the Aged is a fabric of the community serving the elderly for 7 decades.
The closing affected everyone.
“The people that worked at the nursing home, I mean almost all of them are local, have worked there a long time and they’re very caring people,” said New Athens Mayor Joe Behnken.
Two weeks ago, the administration gave residents notice to pack up and leave. It happened after the nursing home was fined $50,000 by the state that said they violated rules for taking in a resident that had COVID-19 without testing her.
The virus spread to 14 residents, four of whom died. The nursing home had eliminated its Medicare, and Medicaid programs making it impossible for the non-profit to stay afloat amidst staffing shortages.
The former director of nursing blames the prior leadership for the nursing home’s downfall. The former director wants to remain anonymous.
“It was more concerned about buying needless things that we didn’t need, redoing offices instead of resident’s rooms just several things with mishandling money.”
New Athens Home for the Aged’s new director confirmed all 40 residents have been relocated. Some family members said it doesn’t take away the stress of having to find a new place with such short notice.
“You’re going to put these people out that have Alzheimer’s, mental disabilities, and things like that in that situation,” said Charles Kleine, his great-aunt is a former resident. “Then now, you’re going to have all these older people, where are they going to go?”
Jerry Baker said his wife with Alzheimer’s has to get adjusted to the new living arrangement after the residents have to relocate from the nursing home.
“Now she’s got to get adjusted in Coulterville, said Baker. “Coulterville is a nice place and she’s still confused over the trip, but it’ll take her time to adjust. It was just a shock to everybody, I mean I heard they still had 10 residents in New Athens the other night.”
Baker said his wife ‘endured enough.’
“She’s suffered enough, this is the last time she’s going to move,” said Baker.
FOX 2 reached out to New Athens Home for the Aged for a remark, but they have no comment at this time.