To the Editor:
I am writing in response to Debra J. Norman’s letter about her father’s unfortunate treatment. As an attorney practicing in the elder law field (with an emphasis on protecting seniors from abuse, neglect and financial exploitation for almost 20 years), I have a drastically different perspective.
The Alliance For Better Long Term Care has been in the forefront of protecting seniors for decades. Often crusading on behalf of seniors whose families and communities have abandoned or neglected them and after other governmental protective agencies have refused to get involved, the Alliance aggressively advocates for and has been tremendously successful in protecting seniors. I know of dozens of cases in which the aggressive efforts of the Alliance’s extremely energetic and caring staff (all who work for modest compensation) and cadre of trained volunteers have literally been the difference between life and death.
Ms. Norman is correct in stating that there is no substitute for family involvement and oversight over a parent’s care. Unfortunately in our society, many seniors do not have caring and local children. In such cases, it falls to the Alliance to champion their cause. Under the leadership of its founder, Roberta Hawkins, and now Kathleen Heren, rest assured that the Alliance is widely recognized as setting the gold standard in protecting seniors – often when no one else does.
David J. Strachman