Couples living at Riverview Retirement Community fighting to keep portion of it open

SPOKANE, Wash. — A Spokane couple married for 64 years thought they had the rest of their lives and healthcare needs planned out. 

Tom and Rosemarie Talkington moved into a home at Riverview Retirement Community 14 years ago, knowing some day they may be living in the nursing home across the street. That specialty care center closed for good last month, leaving them and other residents fearing for their future. 

Riverview is advertised as a continuing care center, according to multiple couples staying there. They liked the fact they could transition into different levels of care when they needed to. 

Now in their 80s, they say that safety net was ripped away. 

“After 14 years, to have this start to deteriorate is inexcusable,” said Tom Talkington. 

He and his wife were shocked to get the letter in March, saying Riverview’s nursing home was closing for good June 1. 

The skilled nursing center is just steps away from their patio. Riverview CEO Charles Tirrell blames the permanent closure on the projected long-term catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It’s a temporary illness. It’s eventually going to die down,” said Tom. “To use that as an excuse to permanently close a facility is just unconscionable.” 

Riverview still offers memory care and assisted living apartments. 

Ron and Carolyn Gooley say Riverview offered to coordinate with other nursing homes if residents need special care. 

Both couples are working with a lawyer, hoping Riverview will change course. 

“Choosing a continuing care retirement community like Riverview relieves some of the stress of having to decide what to do when your healthcare needs change,” it reads on Riverview’s website. 

Riverview President and CEO Charles Tirrell never responded to 4 News Now’s requests for comment. Talkington says 70 of his village neighbors have donated to help with legal fees.

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