“The state obviously wanted to get us back as quickly as possible and gave us permission to reopen the facility and relocate the services and departments …” Melzer said.
Melzer said that a total of 150 of residents are expected to return. Some will not be returning because they were short-term residents at the nursing home.
“They were thrilled to come back,” said Melzer. “They came in with big smiles, they got hugs and kisses from the staff and it was very emotional to see how pleased they were to be back.”
Perby, a Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. native who lived in Valley Stream before coming to Komanoff seven years ago, had packed only enough clothing for about three days, just as residents did for Tropical Storm Irene.
“This time, they told us to take just three changes of clothes; that’s all you need,” she said. “Ha, ha! We figured it was another Irene — the weather wasn’t bad when we left.”
Melzer said that many hospitals and nursing facilities on Long Island had difficulty taking in displaced patients from Komanoff and other nursing homes during Sandy.
“That’s why some of them ended up being in an auditorium or other areas which were not exactly ideal,” Melzer said.
At Mercy, Perby explained that she was fortunate to share a room with another displaced resident, and was among 30 residents from Komanoff.
“A lot of my personal belongings were still here,” she said. “It’s nice to get back in and get our old clothes back. We were very fortunate in going to Mercy; they had a whole unit for us and we all had beds. Of course, there are always complaints, but thank God they took us in. They were good to us. We always had something to do — we did a lot of artwork and anything to keep us busy.”
Still, Perby said she was concerned about her daughter and grandchildren in the days following the storm.
“The second day that we were there, my daughter and granddaughter came to see me, and I was so pleased,” Perby said, adding that her family would bring chocolate and other goodies for residents. “A lot of the families came.”
Perby said that residents had trouble finding out where friends had been relocated. The woman Perby was rooming with at Mercy tried to locate her roommate from Komanoff.