Letter: Scrooged by company at Christmas

Kelowna letter-writer says a change in ownership wasn’t a great move for local senior’s home

To the editor:

For the past 45 years Sutherland Hills Rest Home (SHRH) has been a family owned and operated long term residential care home. The previous owners, the Wirtz family, had the vision and heart to care for those people in Kelowna who needed full time residential care. Many of the staff have been a part of this family atmosphere for 20 to 30 plus years and have commented to me in the past that the staff and residents are part of their family. My mom chose SHRH because of the reputation of great staff and the faith based optional programs.

A meeting was held for family members along with the residents on Nov. 28 to say goodbye to the former owners and welcome the new owner and his management staff. The few questions that were asked re: will the staff change, will the food change and it was commented that there would be very little change in the coming months.

In a letter to the residents (the new company) stated we would “continue to see the many familiar and smiling faces that provide care and service to the residents and their families.”

Today what has changed? Job cuts, salary cuts, shift changes, full time staff cut to part time staff, vacation cuts which staff have earned for their years of love, service and sacrifice to our vulnerable aging and disabled seniors. This type of leadership is not team building and creates an atmosphere of uncertainty for everyone.

Many of us are and have been business owners in the past and this type of leadership is despicable especially right before Christmas. I speak on behalf of staff who are in fear of reprisals, residents who cannot speak up for themselves and families of residents who feel the same way as I.

I couldn’t help but notice the tagline below the logo of loving hands holding a heart which states “Partners In Caring.” Where is the caring for the staff who have financial commitments, mortgages, families to care for after they care for our loved ones?

Christmas is a time to give, help, reach out and not the time to be a Scrooge.

Rita Letkeman, Kelowna

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