Assisted Living is Health Care, Not Just Simple Housing

This is an excerpt from Ed Dudensing’s article in The Sacramento Bee. Read the full op-ed here.“California’s rapidly aging population, and the challenges posed by this so-called “gray wave,” have sparked much discussion among health care experts and policymakers. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Master Plan for Aging, scheduled to be unveiled next year, affirms the need for decisive and strategic action. Reforming the assisted living industry must be a part of this strategy.The graying of California has been a boon for assisted living programs, as families look for alternatives to traditional nursing homes for loved ones who are living longer. Assisted living centers appear attractive because they more closely resemble homes than hospitals, with comfortable living spaces, social programs and other amenities. But as the popularity of assisted living continues to grow – and with it the economic clout of corporate owners – oversight and sound health care standards and practices have lagged, imperiling vulnerable people. We can attest to this firsthand: Recently, one of us represented the family of a 77-year-old resident of the long-term care mega-provider Eskaton, who choked to death after she was given powerful sedatives to chemically restrain her.”

Read the full article at The Sacramento Bee.