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Long-Term Problems

To the Editor:

I read “Hello, Nurse” [June 7, 2007] with interest because my mother is aging, and as a single person in her 50s, I am forced to consider my own long-term care. While I agree that no one is ‘clamoring to get into a nursing home,’ they do provide critical services and many of us will not have any other option. We may prefer to stay in our own homes and pray we have adequate numbers of people willing to assume our care; but there’s no guarantee that will be possible and the concept has its concerns.

Nursing homes have agencies that oversee them. Many people see the client and would witness sores or bruises that need attention, or worse, may signal abuse. Who will oversee the care in an individual home? Who will know that a patient has stopped eating?

Given the low pay we provide to caretakers, these jobs don’t always attract the best candidates. No offense to the thousands who provide excellent care; but even they have to admit that the potential for abuse and theft exists and will be even more prevalent with no oversight.

While we can hope for short-term care, we must address the fact that many need 24-hour care, and will need it until they die. Then we have the mentally ill population that has even more unique needs. Even the young mentally ill are not adequately treated, so how can we hope to address the aging mentally ill?

If people are forced to stay home to care for aging parents, the government will have to support both parties. Someone better get their pencils out, and figure out how that saves money, and explain it to me. We need to maintain, and even grow, the beds in affordable facilities.

We don’t have to look far to see what happens when the government gets out of the nursing-home industry. Look to the western part of the state, as close as Montgomery and Fulton counties, and ask them what happened to their elderly when county agencies were sold.

Many of us will need this care in the next 10 to 20 years. We’d better ensure that the facilities are built and supported now if we want them there when we need them. Fight the consolidation, fight closures, fight for adequate staffing, pay and care. When you’re too old and feeble to fight for yourself, you’ll be glad you took up this battle, because once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.

Wanda Lubinski

Albany

 Corrections

In “Breaking Down the Legal Jargon” [May 17], the establishment of the help desk at the Albany County Family Court was incorrectly credited to Olivia Nix and Willow Baer as founders of Albany Law School’s Pro Bono Society. The help desk was established by the Albany County Bar Association, which asked the Pro Bono Society for its assistance to staff the desk.

In “Headbanger’s Ball” [Live, May 17], the band Machine Head were incorrectly identified as being Canadian. They are from Oakland, Calif.

In “Hello, Nurse?” [June 7], it was incorrectly reported that Albany Comptroller Mike Conner’s father lived in Albany County Nursing Home. Conners’ father was evaluated in 1993 by ACNH, but was not accepted after evaluation.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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Letters, Metroland

419 Madison Ave., Albany, NY 12210

e-mail: metroland@metroland.net

fax: 463-3726


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