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WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 22, 2012, 06:46 PM

Otter Tail County Golden Living Center to close this spring

Otter Tail County, MN (WDAY TV) - There is shocking news tonight for residents and workers at a nursing home on Otter Tail Lake. The Golden Living facility has told workers and families of residents that it will close this spring. It is the second nursing home in Otter Tail County to announce a closure recently.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

There is shocking news tonight for residents and workers at a nursing home on Otter Tail Lake. The Golden Living facility has told workers and families of residents that it will close this spring. It is the second nursing home in Otter Tail County to announce a closure recently.

Like he has for the past 16 years, Art Johnson comes every day to the Golden Living Nursing Home on Otter Tail Lake to visit his sweetheart and wife, Faith. But today, Faith and 44 residents of the nursing home are looking for a new home,

Art Johnson – Wife Lives at Golden Living: “Exactly, the term is not scrambling, you are screwed at this point.”

After families and 54 workers here were told the facility will close in weeks.

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Art Johnson: “You gotta do what you have to do to survive. We will be staying in the area somewhere. We will look at Good Sam and home health care.”

What will happen to the property? Well we do know this; after checking Otter Tail County court records, the 15 acres the nursing home sits on is worth $2 million dollars with 386 feet of shoreline on one of Minnesota's best lakes.

Administrators at the Otter Tail Lake nursing home refused interviews and asked us to leave the property. Some workers told us their severance could be at risk if they talked to us. But in a statement from corporate, Golden Living said "due to location and proximity to other Golden Living Centers, closing is the most responsible decision for our business."

Otter Tail County Human Services is assisting the nursing home and the residents in finding new homes, which will be a challenge since some of the people being care for here have behavior and mental health concerns.

Judy Lien – OTC Human Services: “The nursing home is really responsible to sit down one on one if we can with the families that are able to and want to and figure out what is a good fit, what are you looking for, and what nursing homes that we might have available to fit that need?”

The nursing home has one of the best views on the lake, what used to be Otter Tail County's TB Sanitarium back in the 1940's. After nearly a century of caring for people, it appears the land will now see a much different use and longtime residents like Faith will find a new place to call home.

So where do 54 workers find jobs, and how quickly can other nursing homes be found for those Golden Living Otter Tail Lake residents? Experts in long term care say there are available beds throughout the county, but the face of nursing homes is changing, going from the old style care center to assisted or independent living.

In Battle Lake, the Good Samaritan Center has expanded recently to meet that demand. Meanwhile, just hours after getting news of the closure in Otter Tail, workers and families began contacting other facilities.

Jim Wolff – Good Samaritan-Battle Lake: “We have one half part time position time in activities department. We have had some applicants from the neighboring nursing home and from residents and we have no openings right now.”

Wolff says many nursing home and care centers face money woes because the state has failed recently to grant nursing homes rate increases.

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