“They’re doing this to those who cannot defend themselves,” one caller said.
“It’s terrible ... it creates a precedent for the future!”
Scalabrini announced in a statement last week that the historic aged care residency at Lyons Road would be closed, in a sudden decision which has left residents’ families reeling.
“We placed our trust in Scalabrini by putting our mothers, fathers and grandparents there, and this is the way they’ve treated us,” Domenica Riggio, whose 91-year-old mother lives in the village, said.
“We were given a choice,” she added, referring to the option Scalabrini gave to relocate residents to their other villages.
“But the choice is not really a choice on where we can take my mother.
“It’s just ludicrous!”
Founded in 1968 by Scalabrinian priests, the not-for-profit organisation has claimed to always “put residents’ needs first” and its innovative approaches to care have been recognised nationally and internationally over the years.
The village at Drummoyne has been operating since 1999.
As stated on the organisation’s website, the site enjoys “a dazzling waterfront location with its breathtaking harbour bridge views”.
Riggio, who is a commercial debt recovery lawyer, has formed a committee with other residents’ families in an attempt to achieve a just outcome.
On Tuesday, two members of the committee met with Scalabrini CEO Chris Grover, with little progress made.
“The story we keep getting is that ‘it’s not fit for purpose’,” Riggio said.
A committee meeting was also held that afternoon, with no one from the Scalabrini board in attendance.
Riggio, who has continued to visit her mother at the home, described the atmosphere in the building as “distraught”.
There are 84 residents living at Scalabrini Drummoyne, some with dementia, some bed-ridden, many of Italian heritage and one resident who is 105 years old.
“When I walked up there they were in the dining room,” Riggio recalled.
“No one was talking and everybody looked really sad – the staff, the residents, I just couldn’t cope with it.”
Glover has repeatedly said that “the age of the building does not allow for the type of high care operations required now and into the future”.
He has since added that “there are no plans for the site” and “no decision has been made regarding its future”.
But the residents’ committee is refusing to give up easily.
“We’re looking at other things that we can do,” Riggio said.
“The next step is we are going to write to the CEO and put a list of things that we would like.
“At the end of the day, they’re the owners; they can do what they like.
“But what they’re doing to the elderly, vulnerable members of our community who have given so much when they were younger and more able – it’s just a really sad way to pay them back, it just leaves a sour taste in peoples’ mouths.”