Penticton Western News

Displaced Penticton senior still waiting

Three people were displaced when the Lakeside Care Residence closed in November, now one of them wants her money back. - Western News File Photo
Three people were displaced when the Lakeside Care Residence closed in November, now one of them wants her money back.
— image credit: Western News File Photo

The mid-month closure of a Penticton care home has cost one former resident thousands of dollars and her keeper is struggling to get some of it back.

Interior Health shut the Lakeside Care Residence on Nov. 16 due to concerns about owner John Brewster’s ability to pay his staff and keep the facility running. Three residents left at the 20-bed, privately run home were then transferred to other facilities.

Darlene Sheehan said she has power of attorney for one of those displaced residents, a 92-year-old woman whom she declined to name, and now can’t get Brewster to return her calls to talk about a refund.

Sheehan said her client paid $4,600 in advance for her November care at Lakeside and would like half of it back. The 92-year-old was also on the hook for another $3,500 for stays at two different facilities where she finished out the month, and the extra costs have put a dent in her bank account.

“She does have a small savings, but it has hit her,” Sheehan said. “She’s almost used up another full month of income.”

Since her client’s transfer, Sheehan said, voicemail messages she’s left for Brewster have gone unanswered, but she’s confident he has the money somewhere.

“I’m sure he has, because Lakeside wasn’t the only business he held,” Sheehan said.

And it was a lack of information around those other business that lead to Interior Health pulling Brewster’s licence for Lakeside.

The health authority told him in May 2012 his licence would not be renewed come May 2013 over concerns about the home’s financial viability due to Brewster’s apparent unwillingness to provide information about his other business interests. A condition was also placed on the licence that barred the facility from accepting new clients, adding to its financial woes.

Brewster, who did not return a call for comment this week, told the Western News last August that he felt Interior Health was asking for too much. He also confirmed he owned four other care facilities in Summerland, Kelowna and Grand Forks that are leased to separate operators.

Another one of his facilities, the 16-bed Westridge Care Residence in Vernon, also had its licence limited until next May and went into receivership in September, but is still in operation.

Sheehan said she may bring legal action against Brewster if he doesn’t reimburse her client, and is hoping that anyone else in the same predicament will join her fight.

Interior Health spokesperson Lannea Parfitt said the authority’s involvement in the matter ended once the residents were transferred and Brewster’s licence pulled.

“Because Interior Health didn’t have any kind of business arrangement with the facility (and) we really only had some oversight as far as licensing, we really wouldn’t have any recourse for residents to get their money back,” Parfitt said.

“It may be something they’d have to pursue through civil court.”

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