IMAGINE calling a place home for 20 years only to be told you have no choice but to pack up and get out.
That is the sad reality for Norma Berriman and more than 70 other Lithgow Aged Care residents as they face the ongoing crisis at Cooinda and Tanderra nursing homes.
Norma says the worst part of it all is the residents don't know what's going on. "I never knew what was going on and what was happening until my daughter [Louise] told me," she said.
"Most residents are of an age where they don't understand like me, and rely on family to explain what's going on. I feel for those who mightn't have any family here, I don't know how they're feeling," she said.
Norma said the Board didn't have the decency to let residents know what was going on most of the time.
"It makes me feel as if you can't trust people to tell you the truth in what's going on.
More on Lithgow Aged Care:
- 'The city cannot endure the trauma': Mayor speaks on Lithgow Aged Care concerns
- Lithgow Aged Care sale listing 'premature' as residents wait anxiously
- Stuck in limbo: A nervous wait for residents and families at Lithgow Aged Care
- 'An elaborate farce': Lithgow Aged Care Chair hits out against Commission
- Lithgow Aged Care CEO holds concerns for residents forced to move
- 'Fears for residents': Lithgow Aged Care fights back against sanctions
"It's one of the one of those things that you can't go by 'no news is good news'," she said.
According to Norma, residents were working on the assumption there would be no negative outcome. "Really what can we do? "Being hopeful is all we can do. We tell each other it's going to be okay," she said.
She said if any residents were getting worried she would comfort them. "I try give them hope and give everyone a lift. I don't like the writing on the wall but I'm hopeful," she said
Norma will be 90 in just a couple of months and says she has spent the last two decades living "a happy, safe and cared for life" at Lithgow Aged Care.
"There are great staff here, we cannot fault them. The place is kept spotless and clean and you can never smell anything that's nasty," she said.
"And you couldn't get anybody that feels more compassion than our staff does.
"Over all this time [living at Cooinda] I've heard people say Cooinda is always kept clean and they always have good food. They try to make it like a home and it's always been that way."
Staff went above and beyond
Norma's daughter Louise Stanton said if there was a problem with the care and safety at Cooinda she would have moved her mother a long time ago. "I would not have allowed her to stay here if that was the case," she said.
She said staff went above and beyond to care for Norma.
"Even simple things like hanging a picture or putting away her laundry, they ask how she's going and if she needs help with anything, she's really well looked after," she said.
"Mum also gets to tend to the roses, they have allowed her to follow through on her hobbies and not many places would allow that."
Norma said the other residents and the staff at Lithgow Aged Care were her secondary family. "They make me feel good and cared about," she said.
Louise said she was disheartened when she found out Lithgow Aged Care could be shutting down.
"I couldn't sleep for three days and that was because of plain stress, I kept thinking what's going to happen to mum?" she said.
Louise said when she arrived to ask staff questions they were also in the dark on the matter.
The staff weren't even informed, if the story hadn't of leaked on Facebook I don't think anyone would have been the wiser, " she said.
She said it had been a frustrating time and she hasn't received any answers.
"The four different questions I've asked not one of them, did I get a straight answer, and that's just made me more angry," she said.
Louise said if the Commission gets their way, Cooinda would be closing its doors.
"We have felt right from the word go that they [Commission] wanted to close this place," she said.
"I truly hope it doesn't [close].
"Cooinda is also our future for when we need looking after."
She hoped the facility would receive the extension and proper time to fix errors.
"We all hope the Board can be given proper time to fix the wrongs, after all they're trying to do the right thing but the Commission did not give them the chance.
"That's what scares me, the Commission does not care [if the facility closes]. My heart hopes that the doors stay open but my brain just knows the doors are going to close," Louise said.
"It seems they've got an agenda and that agenda is to close this place, but we're not giving up without a damn good fight."