More seniors’ services could mean more Manor revenue

It is clear that the Manitoulin Centennial Manor is fiscally mired. A look at the facility’s 2010 financial statements is a quick measure of this fact, notably that the municipally-owned home for the aged posted a year-end deficit of $983,499.

This is significant improvement from the 2009 fiscal year (January to December) when the year-end deficit was greater then $1.1 million.

Kudos must go to the Manor administration and board of directors collectively for ending the 2010 year with an excess of revenues over expenditure (the private sector calls this profit) of $189,794, thus reducing the overall deficit by the corresponding amount from one year to the next.

More than half of this deficit ($528,320) is owed to the province of Ontario while the balance of the deficit ($434,150) is shown as accounts payable and accrued liabilities. What is disturbing about the Manor’s liability lines is the fact that both categories have grown higher from 2009 to 2010: the accounts payable and accrued liabilities line is $80,000 greater from one year to the next while the money repayable to the province is $20,000 more. The total increases of both of these categories of liability is $100,000 which takes quite a bite out of the ‘profit’––the$189,794 excess of revenues over expenditures.

Ontario must take a position of culpability in what is clearly a difficult financial situation. A few years ago, the province identified a long list of “deficiencies” at the Manor and until these, largely cosmetic and mechanical, were rectified, the Manor could not take in new residents to fill bed spaces that became available during this period, which lasted well over one year.

The Wikwemikong Nursing Home has recently gone through the very same punitive process and may be still filling the beds that had become vacant during the Wikwemikong Nursing Home’s period of enforced renovations.

No doubt Wikwemikong’s financial statements will look very similar to those of the Manitoulin Centennial Manor for the next few years as both facilities were forced to operate, with all normal expenses, while at the same time being deprived of a primary source of their income: residents’ payments.

In spite of these difficult circumstances, the Manor managed to reduce its operating deficit to $161,724 in 2010 by almost half from $343,137 in 2009, an enormous accomplishment.

The Manitoulin Centennial Manor is a large and important part of Manitoulin and it has been operated as financially efficiently as possible given the circumstances dictated by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, especially when it was denied a large part of its ordinary income during the period when the so-called “deficiencies” were being remedied.

The Northeast Town has proposed, just proposed, that the Manor be renovated, enlarged and then utilized to provide a continuum of care that would have as its core the long-term care that has defined the facility since it opened in 1967.

In fact, to add the aspects of a continuum of care model to the Manor would actually be taking the facility back to the services it was originally envisioned to provide.

In its first years of operation, the Manor did, in fact, offer a continuum of care. It offered services and shelter to elderly people who no longer felt comfortable living on their own.

The two-tier aspect of the manor reflected its clientele in its early days as residents afflicted with dementia were housed on the lower level and those in need of physical assistance were given accommodation on the main floor.

To underscore this point, there were two marriages that took place at the Manor in its first decade and the two sets of partners who met and were married all met at the Manor after they became residents there. Assisted living indeed!

Granted, there appears to be a higher number of people suffering from dementia in the general population, but so there are a large number of people who simply need assisted living, such as was provided to so many of the Manor’s early residents.

Perhaps such an expansion is a good fiscal idea. Perhaps it isn’t. Only a proper study will tell the tale.

But two things are evident: the Manor is in need of other income streams and there is a guaranteed clientele of people who require, or soon will, assisted living.

The Manor board should embrace this opportunity to examine not only its options but also its unique ability to improve the lot of many elderly Island residents from all of our diverse communities.

The Manor is significantly different from its long-term stay counterparts in Wikwemikong and Gore Bay, which are designated “Nursing Homes” in their official naming. The Manitoulin Centennial Manor, on the other hand, is officially designated as Manitoulin’s municipally-owned Home for the Aged and in the current discussions about possible extensions and other uses of the Manor, this differentiation is particularly significant.