Mt. Olive Seniors by Dixie Kuykendall
The North Jefferson News
We all are advocates.
I was delighted to be the guest speaker for the Golden Eagles meeting at the Garden-dale Senior Center this week.
What a great group of senior adults. As this districts representative to the Alabama Silver Hair Legislature, I appreciated the opportunity to discuss several issues that affect our seniors now and in the future.
The Alabama Silver Hair Legislature is a nonpartisan, nonprofit model legislature of citizen volunteers age 60 and older appointed to represent the interest of older Alabamians. It is patterned after the Alabama State Legislature, with members representing each of the 105 state legislative districts.
Our purpose is to inform Alabamians about senior needs and issues of concern to the elderly by drafting resolutions, participating in committee work, debating and advocating legislation. Needs of the aging population are addressed in resolutions provided to the Alabama State Legislature and to the governor for appropriate action.
We work throughout the year to understand the needs and concerns of seniors through just this type of meeting. In our annual legislative session, held in the chambers of the Alabama House of Representatives in Montgomery, resolutions are introduced, debated and voted on. In our final session, we identify and prioritize the top issues from all those passed during the session.
We then present these top issues to the governor and to members of the Alabama State Legislature for the basis for legislation addressing senior needs.
Our top issue last year — and I expect will probably be again this year — is for a resolution to pass the “money follows the person” bill. This bill would allow Medicaid-eligible senior citizens the right of choice between nursing homes or home and community based care.
Of course there are many other issues concerning senior citizens that will be debated:
• forming an Alzheimer’s Disease task force
• forming a “silver alert” bill
• sales tax exemption for over the counter drugs
• increasing limitation on Medicaid prescription brand name drugs
• tax exemption for hearing aids
• no tax on groceries
As an advocate for the rights of residents in nursing homes, long term care is my main focus. In Jefferson County alone, we have about 6,000 beds in long-term care facilities.
Nursing homes are supposed to be inspected once a year by the state, working under contract with the federal government, which sets stringent standards. These inspections are supposed to be unannounced, but any nursing assistant can tell you they know when the inspectors are coming.
From complaint survey date, 41 of Alabama’s 230 nursing homes are listed on the national nursing home watch list having been cited repeatedly for actual harm or immediate jeopardy.
The deficiency data presented urgently demand the need for much stronger enforcement of nursing home standards.
In spite of existing oversight mechanisms, we continue to see examples of nursing home abuse. Nursing homes should be required to provide quality care by following already existing laws and being held accountable.
We are going to urge the Legislature to pass legislation urgently demanding stronger enforcement of nursing home standards by requiring the Alabama Department of Public Health to inspect nursing homes twice annually, document all finding and to expand enforcement actions against noncompliance.
We all are advocates — let your voice be heard!
Mt. Olive Seniors by Dixie Kuykendall
Elder mediation can ease conflicts
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.
Senior Center News
For more information about the Fultondale Senior Center, call 849-0916.
Dear Savvy Senior
What can you tell me the about the constant ear ringing syndrome known as tinnitus? At age 56, I have had it for several years but it has gotten more and more noticeable lately. Is there anything I can do?
— Ringing Rhonda
Dear Savvy Senior
What can you tell me
the about the constant ear
ringing syndrome known
Civitan’s ‘General’ wins major recognition
Gardendale native Robert E. Lee is revered as “The General of Recruiting” as the president of the Gardendale Civitan Club.
Lee has led the club for more than 20 years and he’s recruited about 200 people into the organization. “There’s a secret to recruiting for Civitans and I’m one of the few people that knows it,” he said. “The secret is a-s-k. You just have to ask people to join.”
- Area seniors welcome in Fultondale We are excited about all of the things happening at the Fultondale Senior Center. We’d love to invite all seniors over the age of 60 to join us.
Seniors getting informed, dancing at center
July has brought many new members to the center.
We are so very happy to see folks come in to enjoy our various programs and activities.
Retired teacher loves shopping, family time
Lillie Y. Patterson has lived in the North Jefferson area for 63 years.
A retired teacher from the Birmingham City School System, she tutors in her spare time.
Morris native enjoys flowers, spending time with grandkids
My niece Maria and I went out for a girls day several Saturdays ago and ran into a delightful lady, Erin Sullivan.
Mrs. Sullivan grew up in Morris and has many friends in the Morris and Gardendale communities.
- Person You Should Know — Bernice Chandler
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