News came last week that Mason Convalescent and Care Center, our only nursing home, will close its doors as of May 15th. By that date, residents will have to find alternate living arrangements. And, there will be 27 fewer jobs in Mason County when they close their doors.
About a year ago, a group of investors chose not to move ahead with a plan to build another facility out at the City's industrial park. Pity. That leaves us in something of a fix now.
Though the local facility had its share of problems, it was OUR nursing home. If someone needed a place to stay while they recovered from surgery or illness, they could be here. At home. Close to family and friends.
Now, they will have to go to a neighboring community to find such care. Family and friends who could once drop by on a daily basis will be hard pressed to make such frequent visits. And those residents in the facilities will have fewer of their friends and acquaintances around to provide them with comfort and entertainment.
No more Dreu Bearden playing the piano, or Scott Zesch and Tommy Kent entertaining. No more bingo games. At least, not here.
And, for the community, we lose our oldest generation to another town. Many already were at facilities in Fredericksburg, Llano and Brady. Now, they will all be at out of town centers, and Mason will be missing citizens who, for many years, provided comfort, care and humor to those of us who live here now.
The local facility would be hard pressed to find a new owner willing to take it over. It has been operating under a number of waivers for not being up to modern code, and the cost for meeting those requirements would be better spent on building new facilities.
So, our one remaining nursing home closes on May 15. Oddly enough, this news comes just before learning that the school will be opening an onsite daycare center. Youth and the aged. Two of our most important assets. We have found a way to serve one; but, have lost a chance to serve the other.
I guess I find this even more perplexing considering that Mason has such an elderly population. Of course, most of them are EXTREMELY active, and most of them are still quite capable of living on their own, with the assistance of home health services when the situation arises.
But, what of the others? What happens to our rapidly aging population when they can no longer live on their own, and do need more focused care? Is that when we bid them farewell from our community and allow them to become a part of another town, another community?
The out of town facilities are great. I've been to several of them, and they are modern, state of the art, and wonderful places to live. But, they aren't home. They aren't in Mason. And soon, our elderly residents won't be in Mason either.
Over the years, we have successfully courted new businesses to our town. We've been able to do this, even though we didn't always have everything they needed for a perfect business climate. But, we found a way to make it work, as did they.
Is it not plausible that we could find someone willing to make an investment in our community by constructing and operating a new retirement/nursing center in Mason? We have the population to support such a facility, and after May 15, there will be no local competition.
I think we owe that to those who have paved the way for us to live the lives we lead today in Mason.
It’s all just my opinion.