Here is what happens when massive, faceless corporations buy and run the places where elders live and are cared for:
Southern Cross, which houses more than 31,000 elderly people, said this week that it would have to defer 30 percent of its rent on its nursing homes for three months to stay in business. Blackstone acquired the company in a leveraged buyout in 2004 for £162 million, or $266 million, and sold it two years later with a fourfold return reports Dealbook.
Some analysts say one of Southern Cross’s problems is its set of long-term rental agreements with prices that can only be negotiated up. Southern Cross signed some of the agreements while owned by Blackstone, which also owned its biggest landlord, NHP.
I am perfectly happy with private, for profit ownership of long-term care facilities and I can point readers to some really outstanding human owners and operators. What raises my hackles is the way that huge corporations treat long term care settings as if they were full of “pod people” whose only real purpose is to generate revenue for the corporation. Do you think Blackstone or Southern Cross give a hoot about elders? Outside of the issue of dollars and cents, you can be assured that they do not.
Caring for elders can be done for-profit or not-for-profit but it is human work and should be left to humans.