PDCSS executive director Becky Vermette told The Spotlight that providing assisted living services was creating an annual deficit of approximately $70,000 per year. (Photo contributed.)

PDCSS executive director Becky Vermette told The Spotlight that providing assisted living services was creating an annual deficit of approximately $70,000 per year. (Photo contributed.)

Princeton’s seniors residence faces sharp cutbacks to services

Meals, suite cleaning and security scheduled to be discontinued in December

Princeton residents are reeling, following an Oct. 15 announcement that the town’s only assisted living centre for seniors is facing major cuts in services.

Vermilion Court, a seniors building located in the downtown, has been operating since 2004 as an assisted living facility.

On Dec. 15, 2020, many of its services — including meals, suite cleaning and security — are scheduled to be eliminated.

Residents and their families learned of the changes through a letter. Vermilion Court will transition to an independent living facility.

Vermilion Court, which has 18 units and currently 17 residents, is owned and operated by Princeton District Community Services Society (PDCSS).

READ ALSO: B.C. NDP’s long-term aim to phase out private senior care

READ ALSO: B.C. senior home survey to measure COVID-19 impacts

The letter states: “The PDCSS board of directors and administrative team are extremely saddened to have made this decision. Our mission is to develop and coordinate community based services, not to reduce them, but we have reached a point [where] continuing to provide services that we are not funded for will only impact the society negatively as a whole.”

PDCSS executive director Becky Vermette told The Spotlight that providing assisted living services was creating an annual deficit of approximately $70,000 per year.

Since April 2020, that deficit has already reached $75,000 for the current financial year.

“The reaction from residents and families has been emotional. There is definitely anger and our staff are unfortunately taking the brunt of that, but for the most part it has been sadness. A lot of tears were shed yesterday by families, residents and staff.”

However, said Vermette, instant reaction to the announcement may generated action.

“The community’s outcry and further advocacy efforts from our mayor have presented potential funding opportunities, just this morning. These opportunities may not be long term and may not cover services such as housekeeping and security, but they may cover meals and give us more time to restructure and plan for the future,” she said.

“We have been approached by potential funders for meal services which we will be pursuing, and are optimistic we will be able to at the very least offer meals in the future.”

At present, residents of Vermilion Court pay 30 per cent of their income in rent, and 40 per cent of their income for assisted living services.

The latter charge was increased 10 per cent this year in an attempt to make the facility self-sustainable, and will be cancelled when the services are discontinued.

Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne called the situation “very concerning… I have been in contact with Interior Health, as well as other agencies, to try and help find a solution for the financial situation that Princeton and District Community Services find themselves in at Vermilion Court.”

A remedy may be found between emergency funding and a long term vision, he stated.

“It is imperative that the solution not only be a bandage but a long term one that will see Vermilion Court financially secure and that our community has a safe, reliable home for seniors who need the services provided at Vermilion Court.”

In the coming weeks each resident will meet with a representative from Interior Health, to assess needs and ascertain what level of care each requires.

“Case managers will work with clients and families to identify appropriate alternate care environment options,” said Vermette.

Some services, tied to government funding, are still guaranteed.

PDCSS will continue to provide home support and adult day program services. Home support services focus on personal care and are funded by Interior Health. The adult day program offers social activities and a bathing program plus lunch.

BC Housing provides funding which subsidizes the tenant suites and general building maintenance, and that will also continue.

“PDCSS has never had provincial funding to provide hospitality services. Although the building has always operated as an assisted living facility, it has never been funded as such,” said Vermette.

Princeton’s Meals on Wheels program, run by PDCSS and which also relied strictly on user fees, folded in June of this year.

Princeton’s Meals on Wheels program set to fold before end of month

Vermette was hired as PDCSS’s interim executive director in October of last year, and that position was made permanent in March 2020.

She declined to comment on past decisions and practices.

”I don’t know what applications have been made for funding before my time.”

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

seniors housing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Superintendent of the Kelowna RCMP, Kara Triance. (Capital News file)
Non-violent crime, small population contributes to Kelowna’s crime rate spike, says RCMP

Kelowna RCMP is assuring the public the city is a safe place

RCMP cruiser drives through an alley near Rose Avenue. Phil McLachlan, Kelowna Capital News.
Dozens of police take down man by Kelowna General Hospital

RCMP swarmed the area about 4 p.m. Thursday

Rutland Middle School in Kelowna. (File photo)
Replacing Rutland Middle School still a priority: Central Okanagan School District

Further delay to replace aging middle school disappoints Rutland Middle School parent advisory committee

Man experiencing homelessness lying on the bench. (File photo)
CMHA opens fourth supportive housing in Kelowna

Ellis Place will open on the first week of November

Image: Dave Ogilvie.
UPDATE: Man rescued in West Kelowna was injured hunting

The incident happened in the Glenrosa area this morning

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Crime up 31 per cent in Vernon in 2019: Statistics Canada

Increase includes a 45 per cent rise in violent Criminal Code violations

A Tuesday Oct. 27, 2020 apartment fire in Penticton killed two and displaced dozens more. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Fatal Penticton apartment fire deemed accidental

The blaze gutted an apartment building on Tuesday morning, killing two people and displacing dozens

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports seven more COVID-19 cases

Eighty-nine cases remain active, none of whom are currently hospitalized

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

This Photoshopped version of the crosswalks near the entrance to the Salmon Arm Arts Centre on Hudson Avenue show what is proposed to help create safety for and show inclusivity to the LGBTQ2S+ community. (Salmon Arm Arts Centre image)
Tri-rainbow crosswalk and Progress flag requested to help make Salmon Arm safe

Council will consider budget requests to help make city inclusive to LBGTQ2S+ community

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Most Read