08/22/2016 14:19 EDT | Updated 08/23/2017 01:12 EDT

Seniors in Saskatchewan long-term care home face move over unsafe conditions

GRENFELL, Sask. — Eight seniors in a southern Saskatchewan long-term care home have been told they will have to move within two to three weeks because their wing is no longer safe to live in.

The Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region says an assessment has shown significant deterioration in the northeast corner of the Grenfell & District Pioneer Home.

Residents and their families heard about the situation at a meeting last week.

Marilyn Parsons, whose husband Doug lives in the care home, says they were told some two-by-fours have been rotting for a while and shingles should be replaced.

She says no one knew what was coming and some families of residents didn't even know about the meeting.

Parsons says it's frustrating because the community has been trying for years to get the home fixed or have a new one built.

"I walked out of there before the meeting was over ... I was next to tears," she said.

"If they can build a (football) stadium (in Regina) for how many millions of dollars, why can't we have ... four, five, six million around here for new long-term care?"

Parson said a large amount of money was raised a few years ago, but nothing was done with it.

There have been significant problems at the home for years, she said. Parsons described duct tape lining the floors, radiators that can't be cleaned and a lack of air conditioning. There's no place to put equipment in the building, so it often is stored in hallways and  patients' rooms.

The health region said the home has been one of its top priorities for years. Maggie Petrychyn, executive director for rural primary health care, said ongoing issues have been addressed in the past, but any capital spending needs to be approved by the Ministry of Health.

Petrychyn said the decision wasn't made lightly and the health region recognizes that it's hard for everyone involved.

"I don't think anybody really anticipated that that's what was going to end up happening," she said. 

Parsons doesn't want her husband to have to move. She explained that he has lived in Grenfell his entire life and the town is a big part of him.

She walks a short distance very day to visit him and, if he is moved out of town, she'll have to move as well because she's concerned about driving in the winter.

The region said it will focus on moving residents who aren't originally from Grenfell and will strive to minimize the number of transfers required.

Petrychyn said some "operational changes" have been put in place to address issues in other parts of the home. The region has not made a decision about what will happen with the rest of the building.