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As Covid Hits Nursing Homes’ Finances, Town Residents Fight to Save Alzheimer’s Facility

Marvin Querry, 86, was on his tractor, planting rye on his 770-acre western Missouri farm, when the call came in early November.

It was the social worker from Barone Alzheimer’s Care Center, where Querry’s wife, Diane, is a resident. The facility would be closing because of financial hardship, she said, reading from a statement.

It was an agonizing moment for Querry, a retired physics professor and former executive dean for academic affairs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. “I was stunned,” he said. “Where could I find another place as wonderful to care for Diane?”

It’s rare to hear people talk about a nursing home the way they talk about this 40-bed facility in Nevada, Missouri — a city of nearly 8,300 people near the Kansas border — with deep affection, respect and gratitude.

“We couldn’t ask for a more loving and thoughtful staff than those who work at Barone,” a woman whose mother lives there wrote on a petition to save the facility. In a business where staff turnover is constant, many of Barone’s staff members have been there for five years or more.

“The care there, it goes beyond words,” said Kay Stevens, whose 94-year-old mother moved into Barone in May. “The residents are treated so well, and it’s such a joyous environment.”

But even a sterling reputation and deep community support can’t overcome a stark reality: The fu