‘I was furious, devastated’: Family of woman who died in Clarkston living center speaks out; state shuts it down over living conditions

State report says staff failed to notice resident had died, lied about her care that day

State of Michigan has shut down an Oakland County living center after a report showed horrifying living conditions, including workers failing to notice that a resident had died.

CLARKSTON, Mich. – The state of Michigan has shut down a longtime Oakland County senior living center.

The license was suspended after a report showed unpleasant living conditions that included staff failing to notice that a resident had died.

“I was furious, devastated,” said Terra Durnen.

Read: State shuts down Clarkston group home over living conditions, staffing levels

Durnen put her 73-year-old mother Yvonne Everton of Waterford in the recommended Heather Pines last spring because it was close to her. Shortly thereafter, Everton suffered a severe medical setback, bringing on other lingering health issues along with dementia.

She started receiving hospice care.

Durnen told Local 4 that on July 29, the home let her know that her mother had been showered and brought to the facility’s common area in a wheelchair where she then met with a pastor for a prayer session.

She said he left her mother shortly before 3 p.m. that day. Just before 6 p.m., she and her fiancé decided to stop by for a surprise visit.

“As soon as we walked in the door, we were staring at her hunched over at that spot in the dining room, deceased. Rigor mortis had already set in at that time,” Durnen said. “It was extremely difficult, especially since the staff was feeding the other residents dinner around her and somebody had actually put a clean plate on the table in front of her as if they were going to feed her.”

Both Durnen and the state report said staff lied about her that afternoon.

“Losing her like this is unacceptable,” Durnen said.

The state is not just suspending the license, it is also looking to close the place down permanently. The owners have about half a dozen other locations, and some of the patients who lived at Heather Pines have been moved to those other facilities.

The owners have a week to respond to the suspension.

Local 4 reached out to the owners Friday for comment but were unsuccessful. On Thursday, they said many of the problems the state cited in its report were previous problems that they said had been fixed and have done nothing wrong.

More: Oakland County news

About the Author:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.