The Displaced of Twelve Oaks
Some say that a society can be judged by the way it treats its elderly. If that’s the case, then what can be said about the apparent impending closure of Twelve Oaks?
When CV Weekly broke the story this week about the decision made by the be.group, the company that owns Twelve Oaks, to close the 6.5-acre retirement and assisted living facility located at the corner of Sycamore and La Crescenta Avenue, response by readers was immediate. Many of the comments came from those whose parents reside there and who are still reeling from the news that they have two months to vacate a place that they have called home for the last several years.
“Even though my mom has strong family support, she stated three things to me that made me cry,” wrote one reader. “First, that she is scared to death; second, when having lunch at the new facility, she will see a sea of faces and they are all strangers; and third, what is going to happen to the ones who are not as blessed as she?”
Rumors are circulating that the property is going to be developed. As the economy rebounds, I could see that as a possibility. To find answers, I’ve assigned several writers to this story.
Ted Ayala, who works closely with the city of Glendale in which Twelve Oaks is located, has been asking some important questions. What permits have been filed? How is the protective oak ordinance going to be adhered to? What does the city know about the future of Twelve Oaks?
Jason Kurosu has been talking directly to management at be.group. His interest may have prompted a statement that was released on Tuesday by the company’s vice president of communications and marketing.
Brandon Hensley tackled the tough job of putting a face to the story. Who are these folks who have called Twelve Oaks home? And what does the future hold for them?
This week, columnist Mike Lawler writes about another property that used to house the elderly or, in the case of Rockhaven, women with mental illness. Rockhaven sits deserted near where Twelve Oaks is located. Though it hasn’t been home to anyone in years, you can peek through the wrought-iron fence and still see the quaint cottages and main facility. Like Twelve Oaks, it is obvious that it was a highly regarded property, that anyone who lived there was indeed fortunate. Thankfully, Glendale purchased the property and though plans stalled when the economy tanked, talk about possibly developing a community center and library on Rockhaven’s property has returned. In the meantime, the historical society, overseen by the city, is looking after the grounds.
According to the Center for Housing Policy, “the supply of housing developments that provide extra assistance to help residents live independently is unlikely to keep pace with burgeoning demand.” It would seem, then, that closing Twelve Oaks is truly a short-sighted proposition. It appears that more housing for seniors, not less, is what’s needed.
The Center for Housing Policy also states in regard to establishing elder housing, “A stronger policy commitment will be needed. Considerable attention is focused on the rising healthcare costs of an aging population – and rightly so. But the housing and supportive services needs faced by the very same people receive comparatively little notice. … As the number of older adults rises, the dual challenges of providing affordable housing and adequate services will compel communities across the country to respond.”
I know that right here, our community is responding and what it is saying is loud and clear: Leave Twelve Oaks alone. Let our older citizens live out the rest of their days in peace.