Avis Curriston celebrated her 104th birthday with a Luau at Sunnycrest Senior Living. She was featured on the cover of the Early September issue of the Fullerton Observer. The carved pineapple centerpieces, birthday cake, tropical drinks, and Aloha Polynesian dancers are but a memory now.
Avis Curriston’s January statement arrived on December 27th, demanding $7800 in immediate payment, retroactive to November. On October 22nd, Sunnycrest Senior Living Resident Care Director in absentia, Judy Williams sent her son an e-mail saying that her Level 2 Care Service at $500 a month should have been Level 5 at $2200. The nurse began working there in April 2022, and left for home in Las Vegas for an ailing child at home in September. She continues on the job via Zoom and telephone.
Executive Director Melanie Washington followed up with the perfunctory letter about rising costs and inflation, with a revised Level of Care Service price list, saying it would be implemented on January 1st. It was a generic letter, with no indication of what Level of Service Avis would be at.
No monthly statement was sent in December. Then the January statement arrived. Washington said they aren’t required to provide 60-day notice for Level of Care changes. Only for rental increases. A quick search on the Internet reveals that to be true.
That more than doubled the total cost of keeping Avis there, pricing her right out of the facility. She’d have to leave.
Yes, but 30-day notice would be required to vacate, with interim fees at the higher level. Avis, because of her age and declining mental capacity with the onslaught of early dementia, is being visited regularly by Acacia Hospice, under their doctor’s supervision, paid by Medicare.
Medical Social Worker Deborah Privet says that industry-wide, providers in the area of senior living care are being squeezed by post-COVID inflation, rising costs, and shrinking family incomes.
This situation at Sunnycrest is happening more often. Up-market assisted living facilities are profit-making businesses, and the pressure is on top management to replace low-paying residents with affluent families.
The state licensing authority for assisted living facilities is the California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Department (CCLD) in Sacramento. They have been contacted in this case and are investigating.
The Observer called the Executive Director, Melanie Washington, for comment. She did not respond before this article went to print. –Staff