Chicago (CBS) — It appears a Glenview nursing home might be playing hardball to settle a debt with a 93-year-old Skokie man. On the line is the home he’s lived in for 45 years.
Willard Berkson doesn’t dispute he was unable to pay for his wife’s stay at Glenview Terrace. He worked out a payment plan, but when that became too costly, they took him to court.
Berkson’s wife Noel became ill in 2014. When her care became too difficult for him to handle on his own, he put her in Glenview Terrace nursing home.
“I tried everything I could,” Berkson said.
Noel died in 2016, but Berkson is still trying to pay off the debt from her stay.
His daughter said he emptied his IRA and entered into a monthly payment plan. But, he still owes about $40,000.
Glenview Terrace has threatened to foreclose on his home if he doesn’t come up with the money.
“They have truly bullied him and and us for a lump sum or a foreclosure,” his daughter Nicole Patterson said.
Patterson is hoping Glenview Terrace will agree to a more affordable payment plan with the promise they’ll be paid in full when her father dies and the house is sold.
Attorneys for Glenview Terrace told CBS 2 “it is inappropriate and improper to reveal any settlement conversations,” adding that foreclosure “is only a last case scenario.”
Records show the nursing home has turned to the court nearly 50 times in the last five years to collect money.
Berkson, a World War II veteran, is now struggling with his own health. His daughter said he should be able to use most of his limited resources on his own care.
“Nobody’s denied that they’re owed the money,” Patterson said. “It’s just compromising someone’s care now at this age at this point in his life is really not a right thing to do.”
And if no agreement is reached, Patterson said her father would lose more than just his house.
“Every piece of dignity that he’s worked for his entire life would pretty much be stripped away,” she said.
Patterson said after posting online about her father’s situation, she realized how common this problem is and hopes this starts a conversation about the challenges facing middle class elderly.
A GoFundMe campaign has been created for Willard Berkson. To donate, click here.