Montreal’s Fulford Residence has served countless women who’ve walked through the doors and called it home, since moving to its Guy street location in 1890. But no more.
Over the past year, the private, non-profit home for autonomous elderly women has seen fewer people move in, forcing it to close due to financial difficulties.
“Out of 38 rooms we have 21 ladies staying at Fulford right now, so we’re losing a lot of money,” said Director Marie-France Lacoste. “We’re talking about $60-70 thousand monthly that we’re losing right now.”
COVID-19 only exacerbated the problem. The facility grappled with an outbreak in January, and according to Lacoste the last case recorded was two weeks ago. Overall, almost the entire staff and residents caught the virus. Ten residents died.
The remaining women range in age from 74 to 104. CIUSS employees will assist in their relocation in the coming months.
“Social workers will assess every resident and will suggest different places to go, most of our clientele will probably move to a CHSLD,” said Lacoste.
While 91-year-old Mary Madeleine Ramsay looks forward to new opportunities at her next home, she says it will be difficult to say goodbye to the Fulford.
“Oh I shall miss it terribly, all I can say is I believe that it is unique in every way,” said Ramsay.
While Ramsay has lived at the Fulford for the past nine years, she started volunteering at the home in 1989. Her more than 30 years of involvement played a role in her choosing the residence that she hoped would be her forever home.
As for the building, its future remains unclear. Owned by the Anglican Church, Bishop Mary Irwin-Gibson says their main priority is finding new homes for the remaining residents.
“It’s not something that is on the front burner right now, we will be thinking about ideas and what could happen with it,” said Irwin-Gibson.