Residents at senior independent complex say staff abandoned them during Irma

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Residents living at a 55+ apartment community are upset after they claim management and staff abandoned them during Hurricane Irma.

Isadore Sterling, 94, said he feels seniors were left to fend for themselves at Hampton at Clearwater.

“It made me feel like we were deserted period. We have 240 patients, people here on eight floors,” said Sterling.

He said a maintenance guy and the activities director were the only ones who had the heart to stay behind.

“You had to have your own food, we had water, but the electric was out. There was nothing we could do we were stuck here,” said Sterling.

He said there was little security, little food and no power.

Teresa Loftin’s mother also lives here. She says the place looked like a homeless shelter when she arrived.

“We told them that they could evacuate, how can a 94-year-old, how can my own mother, who is 88 that doesn’t drive, how can they evacuate?” said Loftin. “People were on oxygen in the lobby. I was about ready to knock the door down and start cooking for these people. It was bad.”

Property management would not comment.

A representative said because Hampton at Clearwater is not an assisted living facility, rather an independent facility, staff is not required to stay.

The representative also said staff had to leave to take care of their families and prep for the storm, but they did have limited staff on site.

The complex is in a non-evacuation zone.

Staff sent residents a letter last week to tell them to prepare for the storm and evacuate if they didn’t feel safe and, depending on the severity of Irma, would determine if any staff would be on-site.

Loftin said that is unacceptable.

“Where was management, they were at home because they had a no-evacuation zone,” said Loftin. “Well, your job is to be at this building, taking care of the elderly. You choose that job, you need to be here.”

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