Recent History – 1998
Dec. 9, 1998, Alethea Wiesner, Daily News Staff
Reduced activities and cramped spaces have some Rotary Manor residents upset. The problem, simply, is space or lack thereof. Some 10,000 square feet were lost when the top floor of Rotary Manor was closed Feb. 28 this year, a third of the total building space. Consultants called in by Rotary Manor staff found the floor didn’t meet minimum safety requirements or fire safety standards.
“We’ve been very, very fortunate we haven’t had a serious accident,” said site manager Audrey Findlay. “No broken bones, but bruises and scrapes and there is potential.”
Nine residents have been relocated, four of whom are still at the senior’s home. However, their bedrooms are smaller and with the loss of the upstairs hall, resources like the library and pool table had to be squeezed downstairs.
“I think it’s terrible,” said Frank Speer, a 99-year-old resident. Tight living quarters mean some activities have been either reduced or canceled, he said, which means staff must rearrange furniture constantly to make room.
“We used to be active here every day of the month, practically,” he continued. “Now it’s three and four days sometimes with no activity. The main pastime [now] is to sit in the lobby and count the fish in the fish tank or the cars passing on the street.”
Speer said he doesn’t understand why, with the renovations upstairs, the top floor can’t be opened up. He added quickly the staff are doing everything they can to keep activities operating but lack of space makes it difficult and time-consuming.
However, senior administrator Lilian MacTaggart said there are still plenty of activities for residents to take part in, like devotionals, exercises, choirs, and trips shopping or to the library.
“It’s not that there are no activities,” she said, “it’s that the activities are maybe not ones everyone likes.”
“Staff also try to accommodate any special requests for residents”, she continued, “such as putting in carpet for floor bowling and rearranging furniture for the pool table. It’s making the best of a bad situation. We have seasonal events — for example the residents participated in the Christmas Bazaar,” MacTaggart continued. “The residents peeled apples, they made pies, things like that.”
However resident Gwen Patterson wasn’t too enthusiastic about peeling food as a form of recreation. “Whoop-tee-do,” she said dryly. “We want some activities for pleasure. Peeling apples is not a great deal of fun.” Patterson was also affected by the closure of the top floor of Rotary Manor. She said her new room is cramped, her closet smaller, and she said activities she used to enjoy, like watching pool games, are too crowded now.
A new Rotary Manor is scheduled to break ground on 17 acres near the Child Development Center next spring. However architectural firms are only now being short-listed and blueprints have yet to be developed for the 44-bed multi-level facility. The absolute soonest the new facility could be completed is 2001, and estimated costs for the building are $5.28 million.