Nursing Home Closing



Nursing Home Closing
By: Wendy Ray

For the second time in less than a month a Heartland nursing home is forced to shut it's doors, the latest victim of Illinois state budget cuts.

Meridian Manor in Mounds just announced it is closing.

According to the director of nursing there, the state hasn't given Meridian it's payments for the past four months. The state has also taken around 5-thousand dollars away from the facility. The news is causing concern among the elderly population in Southern Illinois. Most of the elderly people we talked to Friday say it bothers them that Meridian Manor is closing, but they're more concerned that even more nursing homes may shut down.

Valentine's Day is cause for celebration at the Union County Community Center in Anna, but news that Meridian Manor is closing, has some of the seniors there anxious. "Nursing homes are important, especially for people who have someone in them," Mae Arbuckle says. Arbuckle's daughter is in a Southern Illinois nursing home. She's worried that state budget cuts may force that home to close, and maybe others. David Hutchinson feels the same way. "I think that should be the last thing they cut back on," he says. "I know money's tight but geez, that would be a catastrophe."

According to workers at Meridian, ten have been moved, they hope to move 20 more by February 20th. Meridian residents aren't the only ones getting hurt. 50 employees will be out of work. Closing is a reality everyone at Meridian will have to face soon, and one that seniors think isn't fair. "I don't think we should forget our elderly people. If it was not for them we wouldn't be here," senior Jenny Bridgeman says. "Older people have spent too much time supporting this country, I think they deserve some recognition," Hutchinson says.

Meridian Manor has been serving residents since 1972. February 28th will be the last day it's officially opened. It's the only nursing home in Pulaski County. Meridian owns a nursing home in Mount Carmel Illinois, that one is also being closed.