NORTHRIDGE (CBSLA) - From cockroaches to mold, a local family said their 98-year-old mother was forced to live in filth leading up to her death and now they're suing the high-end assisted living facility, as well as warning others that it could happen to their loved ones.
From the outside, The Village At Northridge appears luxurious and worthy of the nearly $8,000 a month Gertrude Iskowitz was paying when she died at the age of 98.
Inside Iskowitz's apartment, however, her family found cockroaches, both alive and dead.
"We even had movers say cockroaches were jumping out out of the bed," Steve Iskowitz said of his mother's apartment.
They also found soiled carpeting, mold in the bathroom and in the kitchen. The sight took her granddaughter's breath away.
"She liked to have things neat and clean, and to think that she died living in that," Stephanie Jacobo said.
Jacobo was so shocked, she took video the day after grandmother died, back in January, as they moved out her belongings. The family said they hadn't been inside her apartment in over a year because of restrictions related to COVID-19.
"It was terrible. I think about it all the time. I can't believe my mother was living like that," said Judy Gilder.
According to the 98-year-old's resident's lease, her apartment was to be cleaned weekly.
"I don't care what you pay. No one should live like that. Nobody's loved one should live like that," Gilder added.
According to a complaint investigation report from the State Department of Social Services, the agency found all four of the family's allegations, including the cockroach infestation and mold, to be substantiated. In 2019, the family said Iskowitz was sent to the hospital for severe swelling in her face due to bug bites.
Additionally, a work showed that Iskowitz complained about the roaches and bugs four times back in 2020.
"The response was Raid being placed in her bathroom, on the floor, and a bug repellent, deet, next to her bed, with her room number on it," Gilder said.
Iskowitz's daughter said she tried to move her mom from The Village, but no one would take her due to the pandemic. The family has now filed an elder abuse and neglect lawsuit against The Village at Northridge and its parent company, SRG Living.
"People have to be advocates for their family. I don't want this happening to someone else," Gilder said.
For its part, officials at The Village at Northridge released the following statement:
"Our highest priority is the health and wellbeing of our residents. We are committed to providing safe, comfortable and compassionate care and ensuring our residents feel they are at home in our community. While we cannot comment on pending litigation, we take these allegations very seriously. We will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure we are meeting the high standards we set for ourselves and our community."
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