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Princeton lawmakers call for investigation after senior home's abrupt closure forces dozens to move out

72 seniors forced out of Princeton Care Center after abrupt closure
72 seniors forced out of Princeton Care Center after abrupt closure 02:39

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Lawmakers in Princeton are calling for investigations and reform after a senior home abruptly closed with less than a day's notice, forcing 72 seniors to move out as many of their families scramble to find their next home.

Residents got notice on Sept. 1 that the Princeton Care Center was closing. Families say their loved ones had to leave that same day.

Chaunpit Pattanasin, a 74-year-old with dementia, is confused by the new home she just moved into. Seventy-nine-year-old Florence Edwards is still trying to figure out where to stay long-term. Nora Mikkelsen, 72, was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this summer and wants to stay close to her nearby doctors.

"My mother gave me a call and she was sobbing," said Mikkelsen's daughter Stacy Launer. "She said that she needed to be out of the facility, that they were closing down."

That call was Sept. 1, when the staff at Princeton Care Center told 72 residents they'd have to relocate "due to unfortunate financial hardship."

Friday, men loaded medical supplies into a U-Haul outside the nearly empty facility.

But last week, Mayor Mark Freda describes a much more chaotic scene as seniors moved out and tried to figure out where to stay.

"I can't say what I really think it was, but it was a word and then the word show," he said. "There's people in that care center, whether they're in memory care or whatever, aren't capable of like even understanding what was going on around them, and what happens if your family is who knows how far away? What if they can't get there?"

Residents were given options that day to be transferred to other senior facilities, but some families declined and said the options were too far.

The mayor is calling for the state to find ways to ensure the same situation can't happen again, and State Sen. Andrew Zwicker says lawmakers are already investigating what happened.

"There is absolutely no reason for residents to be given 12 hours to have to evacuate," Zwicker said. "Where was an emergency pool of money to pay staff so that residents could stay in place over a holiday weekend?"

One man told CBS New York Princeton Care Center moved his mom with dementia to another facility more than an hour from Princeton. He spent the past week scrambling to move her to a closer senior home.

We've reached out to the Princeton Care Center administrator and the New Jersey Department of Health to ask how all this happened, and we're waiting to hear back.

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