LETTER: Protect older, vulnerable adults

To the editor:

I think the time to act is now to protect older, vulnerable adults. Several recent Star Tribune articles have reported the shocking, disgraceful situation in some assisted living and other care facilities for vulnerable older adults. Sadly, the rate of physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse in many care facilities is increasing as the number of people dependent on assisted living keeps pace with the large aging population. This issue will affect most of us — an estimated 7 out of 10 over age 65 will need some type of long-term care.

I commend Governor Mark Dayton for forming a special work group to quickly produce recommendations for the 2018 Legislature. The work group included AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota, the grass-roots Elder Voice, Family Advocates and others.

I believe the time to enact systemic changes in this industry is this legislative session. The reforms made to Office of Health Facility Complaints is a start, however, it is like applying a band aide to a hemorrhaging artery. Two pending bills, HF3468 and SF3088, will give older adults better protections, such as dementia care standards and expanded consumer rights.

I urge you to learn about the current situation that you and your loved ones face regarding long-term care. Visit eldervoicefamilyadvocates.org.

Barbara Luck, Maplewood

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