Magnolias Assisted Living in Myrtle Beach officially closed their doors Wednesday night after giving their elderly residents just 48 hours to vacate.
Magnolias manager Ben Read issued a letter to residents, families and employees on Monday explaining that residents would have to move out by 5 p.m. Wednesday. He said the facility’s former administrator Denise Graham was to blame for the abrupt closure.
“While still employed by Magnolias, Denise proceeded to contact Magnolias residents and families telling them that their loved ones wanted to leave Magnolias and follow her to Carolina Gardens,” the letter stated. “We have lost virtually all of those residents which in turn decimated Magnolias cash flow to remain in operation.”
Read said the business lost over $40,000 in revenue when roughly 20 residents followed Graham to Carolina Gardens. The business also exhausted more than $35,000 in external borrowings and all personal and family funds in the last 45 days to maintain operations.
Read also said a potential sale fell through at the last minute.
While Magnolias lost a large chunk of their senior population, a Magnolias employee told The Sun News on Wednesday that 12 seniors were still residing at the facility when Read sent his letter. Mary Lynch, 90, lived at Magnolias for nearly three years and was hoping to celebrate her 91st birthday there next week.
“The whole ordeal at Magnolias is not only abrupt and unreasonable but traumatic to many,” Lynch’s granddaughter Wendy Fields told The Sun News. “They won our trust and our business hosting our Mary Lee as a resident. That is part of what brings me frustration. There was little-to-no respect being offered.”
Lynch moved to Magnolias from West Virginia in 2016 after her husband of 69 years passed away, Fields said. Fields added that while the transition was difficult at first for Lynch, making friends with the other residents and having her suite decorated with her most treasured items made her feel more comfortable.
Now with Magnolias closing its doors, Fields said her family is scrambling to get Lynch settled somewhere else while also dealing with the loss of funds after the assisted-living facility collected a full month’s rent for February.
“A prorated refund for the days and meals not provided would have been at least some effort of decency,” Fields said. “But no, not as of yet. No word.”
While Lynch is currently staying with family in Little River, Fields said she’s hopeful her family can move her into River Park Senior Living in Little River as long as they can swing the increase in living expenses the new facility would require.
“(There’s) so much pressure to do so much in speed time,” Fields said. “She’s been crying all dang day. What they did is awful and shows no respect, no compassion.”
According to news reports, employees haven’t been paid since last week, and don’t know if they’ll be paid for their time as few stayed to help the residents move.
Allison Watkins, whose grandmother resided at Magnolias, launched a fundraiser on Monday in an effort to raise funds for the employees. She pressed that the staff has gone above and beyond to help contact families and find homes for residents while they struggle to financially support their own families.
As of Wednesday night, Watkins has raised $1,420 of her $5,000 goal.