‘This isn’t just about the people who live there’

REP. JOE SCHOMACKER (left) and Sen. Bill Weber on Thursday heard from a number of concerned citizens regarding the closing of the Slayton Rehabilitation & Healthcare center. Photos / Per Peterson

Closing of Slayton senior facility doesn’t sit well with families

There were more questions than answers last Thursday at what was called a “brainstorming” public meeting concerning the closing of the Slayton Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center.

More than 100 concerned citizens — some with a parent at the Center, others employees of the business — with an eye toward an uncertain future gathered to share their concerns, vent and get answers from Luverne Republican politicians Sen. Bill Weber and Rep. Joe Schomacker.

“We understand that a serious situation has developed here,” Weber said to open the conversation. “I think one of the issues is there’s a lot of unknowns around the situation. We recognize this isn’t just an impact for the nursing home itself, but it impacts the entire community in a negative way — the residents, the families of the residents, the workers.”

Schomacker concurred.

“This isn’t just about the people who live there — their families had access there, people were able to get jobs there,” he said. “And there’s the overall spill-over effect. We know that a dollar spent at a nursing home is at least four dollars back into the community. The local economic impact that comes along with this is pretty tremendous. We understand how much of a piece of the community this really is.”

Weber also acknowledged that the closing of the Center creates a hardship for other facilities within the community, such as the hospital and businesses that are supported by the nursing home. He admitted that neither he nor Schomacker had many details surrounding the closing, but those in attendance weren’t buying the theory that it had to do with a shift toward a younger demographic in the area, which was the reason the owners of the Center gave for the closure.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.