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Woman claims her mother, others were mistreated during Rome Home closure

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A woman whose mother was living at the Rome Home for a short time before it closed last month is expressing frustration with the way board members notified family of the closure, and the way she and others were treated in the final weeks.

The woman’s mother was accepted to the Rome Home in December, she said. It had been open for over 100 years before its closing at the end of April.

”It’s not easy getting a family member in a home, there’s a lot of hoops you gotta jump through,” said the woman, who joined WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning this week but did not wish to be identified.

The woman claims she received a phone call in the midst of March’s big Stella storm that dumped 3-feet of snow across the region. That call, she claims, came at 6:30 p.m. and gave her 30 minutes notice to attend a meeting at the home where families were informed of the closure. At the meeting, she and other families were then given 30 days notice to find a new home for their loved ones, she said.

Some residents continued to live at the home until it closed at the end of April, she said, but not without what she described as near harassing phone calls from either staff or board members.

(Credit: Dave Smith, WIBX)
(Credit: Dave Smith, WIBX)

Those phone calls from the Rome Home came almost daily, and each time she visited her mother she was told, ‘You know you have to get your mother out. She can’t stay here,’ the woman claims. They also told her mother in a similar tone, ‘You have to get out. You can’t live here anymore,’ and asserted that it reached a point of causing her mother to panic, thinking she’d done something wrong and was being thrown out.

”That’s elder abuse, in my opinion, you don’t do that knowing someone has issues,” said the woman, who also says she has filed a complaint with the New York State Department of Health.

The woman also claimed to have witnessed an 82-year-old man – who doesn’t have family in the area – literally moving himself out of the home, making multiple trips with a pushcart to transport his items to his new home, a nearby apartment.

WIBX met with two former longtime staff members of the Rome Home who worked there until its closing last month. They corroborated many of the allegations, including the claim about the harassing nature of the phone calls and the story of the man moving himself out of the home.

”They did it wrong, and heartless,” they said.

That male resident, they said, had trouble finding a new facility to move into. When the resident was presented with the option of moving into that nearby apartment, he was told by a board member that if he didn’t take it he would be ‘dropped off at the mission’, the staff members claimed.

Those staffers believed the decision to close was made in late-December and, while speaking to WIBX, questioned why the board waited until March to notify residents’ families.

When they inquired to board members about the reason for the home’s closure they were told they had run out of money, the staffers told WIBX. However, they were surprised to hear of financial trouble as they had been led to believe the home was doing well due to several endowments and gift donations, they said. Those longtime staffers also described the home as having fallen into disrepair, including leaking pipes that went unfixed and a crumbling kitchen.

WIBX contacted the Rome Home Thursday morning. When I identified myself as calling from WIBX, the woman who answered said, ‘We have nothing to comment on’, and hung up the phone. When I called a second time, a different woman answered and directed me to the home’s website for information. When I asked who I was speaking with, the woman hung up.

WIBX was unable to locate postings or information about the closure on the Rome Home’s website.

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