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Fewer people are sending loved ones to nursing homes in Stephenson County

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ROCKFORD(WREX) — Administration at the Walnut Acres Nursing Center in Stephenson County says fewer people are using nursing homes in the county.

Over the past couple of years, Walnut Acres says numbers in the facility have dropped from 125 people to 95 people.

Cheryl Cormican with Walnut Acres says the change is happening because many families want to continue to keep taking care of their loved ones.

"Are you prepared to put your loved on in a nursing home? gotta ask yourself that question," said Cormican.

Another reason for the decrease is many people are using assisted living facilities instead of full service nursing homes.

"There was a big educational push in the community about having people stay at home as long as possible with the help of their families. You want to care for your loved one and care for them as much as possible," said Cormican.

The decrease has made such an impact that the county board is hosting a town hall meeting regarding the issue in February.

"Everybody I have talked to, with the exception of a couple of board members, have really been up in arms that we would even think about privatizing or selling the nursing center," said Stephenson County Nursing Center Chairman Rebecca Quiggle.

While Quiggle says the county will always try to find ways to have funding, the committee is looking at ways to expand the nursing home to accommodate more people.

"The other thing we are talking about is doing a hospice center here like the one in Oregon," said Quiggle.

Quiggle adds that idea is still in the beginning stages of the planning process.

The town hall meeting will be hosted on February 19th at 6:30 p.m. at Highland Community College.

Lauren Baker

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