A misspelled name has been corrected from the previous version.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Retirees at the Fountains of Canterbury in Oklahoma City were in shock Tuesday after the property’s management company announced it will be shutting the doors to its sprawling property later this year.
A statement from Watermark Retirement Communities, the management company that currently operates the property, said the closure is due to financial constraints.
“On June 28, 2022, The Fountains at Canterbury, a senior living community in Oklahoma City, announced it will begin the process of permanently closing the community. Like many other businesses, The Fountains at Canterbury has faced ongoing challenges from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic throughout the past two years. Unfortunately, the financial prospects of continuing as a senior living community could not be sustained,” said public relations manager Vicki Doyle in an email to KFOR Tuesday. “In making this difficult decision, Watermark, the community management firm, has assembled a team to assist residents, families and associates throughout this transition.”
The retirement community in Northwest Oklahoma City offers several residential options for older adults with varying levels of independence who told KFOR they are now scrambling to find new homes.
“There’s no choice. We’re out. We’ve got to find something [else] satisfactory,” said Jay Spoonheim in an interview with KFOR.
The senior said he and his wife moved to the property more than four years ago and believed it would be their last move.
“We’ve got a third floor apartment that looks out over the pond. We see the geese and the birds and it’s really pleasant,” he added.
“[Now], I’m 91 and [about to be] homeless,” he stated plainly. “I’m a man of faith, so I have confidence it’s going to work out. It’s just not pleasant.”
As reported by Senior Housing News, in November 2021, Welltower, Inc. announced agreements to acquire multiple properties, including a group of properties managed by Watermark Retirement Communities, the operator of The Fountains at Canterbury.
Welltower, Inc. has also been cited as “the largest senior housing owner in the United States.”
According to its most recent portfolio list, the company owns 13 properties across Oklahoma, including six properties in Edmond, Norman and Oklahoma City.
Spoonheim told KFOR he was worried about the emotional toll the upheaval would have on the community.
“We had a woman today who we think had a stroke,” he added. “Well, what caused it? Could it be the stress? We don’t know for sure.”
For 88-year-old Sue-Ann Johnson, the prospect of moving somewhere brand new is frightening and confusing.
“Where are you moving? What are you going to do? That’s all we are talking about,” she said while sitting on a bench outside of her building.
Johnson said she’s dealt with depression since learning of the news.
“I spent two days in bed. I just couldn’t face the reality of it,” she said. “Everyone seems to be down.”
“We did everything together, looked out for one another, we helped one another,” said her friend Pat Glasser, trailing off.
“It’s bad enough that we have to move, but to break up our own family, everybody is going on their own way,” she said finally.
While the neighbors said they’re hoping for a solid solution, they’re in limbo until they know where they will move to next.
“Well, I’m hopeful that the ownership is going to do right by those of us who are being put out,” said Jay, while saying he hasn’t heard from management. “I mean, do right financial we do it right, helping us move, that sort of thing. I think that’s the responsibility.”
“I don’t think I have long to live anyway…I was hoping it was going to be here,” added Sue-Ann.
Watermark representatives said they are working together with residents, families and associates to “navigate a smooth transition, including connecting them with other senior living communities in the area.”
More information is available on their website at canterbury.watermarkcommunities.com.