The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s recent series “Unprotected” brought to light very concerning deficiencies within the state’s oversight of senior living facilities.
Forty percent of residents in all residential care facilities have Alzheimer’s or other dementias, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This terrible disease is very close to me — my grandfather, mother and several aunts and uncles have all perished as a result of this disease. My oldest sister has been diagnosed. Finding quality care for my sister as she has progressed through the stages of the disease has been a daunting, seemingly impossible task. The process of finding quality care are life-altering decisions for patient and caregiver — with no easy answers.
I was pleased to see that the Department of Community Health took the first step in responding to the “Unprotected” series by proposing a solution that would require displaying, prominently, the inspection reports on their websites. I hope the governor sticks to his promise that this is the first step to myriad solutions. I would ask that Sen. Butch Miller join in supporting these solutions.
We must strengthen the staff to patient ratios and competency-based dementia training. We also need to ensure that people living in these facilities are in the most appropriate setting for their care needs throughout their lifetime.
Thank you again Gov. Brian Kemp, Commissioner Frank Berry and the Department of Community Health Board for taking this important step to protecting our seniors, especially those living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.