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Seniors face uncertainty

February 11, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Residents at two Hagerstown senior citizens group homes scheduled to close next month were distressed about their future on Thursday as they pondered it.

"I'm very upset," said 14-year resident Helen Kuhn, who will turn 82 on Sunday. "We're all very upset."

Holly Place at 240 S. Potomac St. and North Holly Place at 268 S. Potomac Street are scheduled to shut down on March 18. Senior Living Alternatives Inc., which runs the centers, is running out of money.

The uncertainty is on some residents' minds, but it's not necessarily foremost in their thoughts, they said.

"There's not anything that we can do - none of us," said Pauline Thompson, 79.

Administrator Melanie Davis said some residents understand the plight of the Holly Place centers and others don't.

Davis said she's "mildly" optimistic a solution will allow the 28 residents to continue staying at the two centers, which are a few doors apart.

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"I'm trying to be (hopeful) for their sake," she said.

Davis said local nursing homes have offered beds for residents who qualify. People with Medicaid waivers might be able to move to assisted living centers that have openings.

But 10 of the 28 Holly Place and North Holly Place residents don't have money or medical coverage.

"We don't know where they're going to go," Davis said.

Although the state has said those people will be placed somewhere, there are no facilities in Washington County with openings, she said.

The search for beds might extend to other parts of the state.

Kuhn said she's afraid that she and her friends will be separated.

Kuhn grew up in the Keedysville area. She said she held various jobs, including one painting houses.

Evva Jones said she was raised "in the country," around Burkittsville, Md. She said she earned money cleaning houses.

Thompson said she is from Martinsburg, W.Va., where she inspected socks at the Interwoven mill for a living.

Bill Hosfeld, a Holly Place center resident for two years, is 72.

He likes to joke that he's 27, but stops when he thinks about having to move.

"I don't like it. I'd rather stay here ...," he said. "I'm too old to be floating around."

A Hagerstown native, Hosfeld said he worked at Hagerstown Rubber for 10 years.

Almost five years ago, he was riding a moped on Hopewell Road and hit a pothole. At the time, police said Hosfeld was wearing a helmet, but it wasn't fastened tightly and it fell off.

He said Thursday that he doesn't remember what happened.

As residents at Holly Place played bingo and residents at North Holly Place watched soap operas Thursday afternoon, Davis said the community has responded warmly.

The city government has pledged money. Other groups and foundations have offered assistance.

A woman promised to sell some new clothes and donate the proceeds.

But all of that will only go so far, Davis said.

"There seems to be a lot of help temporarily," she said. "I don't think the board (of directors) will go for that."

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