Reid Manor residents face fee increase for services

Residents at Reid Manor are receiving a rent increase of $125 per month.

Reid Manor resident Mary Ellen Brown holds up a Life Line pendant during a meeting with members of the Rimoka Foundation Feb. 13.

Reid Manor resident Mary Ellen Brown holds up a Life Line pendant during a meeting with members of the Rimoka Foundation Feb. 13.

Residents at Reid Manor are receiving a rent increase of $125 per month.

Seniors were informed by letter and then in a meeting with directors of the Rimoka Housing Foundation Feb. 13. The meeting was an opportunity for residents and their families to ask questions of Bethany Group, which manages Rimoka’s buildings, and other concerns on their mind.

Dave Buist, Bethany Group director of client services, along with Mayor Larry Henkelman and Rimbey Coun. Gayle Rondeel, explained the reason behind the hike.

“I know there’s some articles in the paper that people might be concerned about,” explained Henkelman referring to previous stories discussing Rimoka’s budget.

Decreases in provincial funding have created a shortfall in income and has resulted in the increase, he added.

The service package at Reid Manor, which covers food, housekeeping, laundry and night staff is where the increase goes to, stated Buist. “That’s your four biggest components of the service package.”

Since Reid Manor is a self-contained program with subsidized rent, Bethany Group can charge only a maximum 30 per cent of a person’s income no matter what they make.

“At the level that we’re actually charging now we would still lose money even if we had 32 people in there,” explained Buist.

Another reason for the increase is the number of vacancies hat Rimoka has seen.

“We have vacancies at the Rimoka Foundation that we haven’t had in 10 years,” stated Henkelman.

Usually there is a reasonable amount of time when rooms are filled but lodges across central Alberta are seeing continued vacancies; this has created a shortfall in earnings for Bethany Group.

A recommendation was made by Bethany to increase the rate and the Rimoka Foundation ultimately had the final say. “Which is their decision to make,” said Buist.

One resident asked why the group has not advertised more as they feel Reid Manor is a pleasant place to live.

“The salad bar is wonderful. I’d like to commend you on the staff,” stated Mary Ellen Brown.

She has been at Reid Manor since 2012 and is pleased with the services.

“That is a good suggestion and we’ll take that forward,” said Buist.

The board has also considered the idea of transferring residents from neighbouring towns such as Rimbey. If lodges in Rimbey have a wait list, Buist feels Bethany Group might ask those in waiting to come to Ponoka until a spot opens.

“I think this is a very important consideration right now,” he stated.

Other residents were worried these changes would mean the current services they have would be lost later on. However those residents’ services would be grandfathered into the agreement and only new residents would not have certain services.

The Bethany Group has also discussed looking at younger renters. Usually a person who is 65 years and older is considered but Buist feels if vacancies continue then they will review applications from people 55 years old as well. “We definitely look at younger people.”