Mt. Olive Seniors By Dixie Kuykendall

The North Jefferson News

The Mt. Olive Senior Center invites local seniors to join us at the center for fun and fellowship.

Don’t sit at home and watch TV — it is much more enjoyable to be part of our fun. We recently enjoyed a surprise breakfast of sausage, biscuits and gravy prepared by Robert Kuykendall. Join us any Friday for exercise and dance.

On July 10, we are planning a trip to the Farmer’s Market and on July 17, we will enjoy a pot luck lunch. I can guarantee you will not find a better spread anywhere.

Featured senior

A special senior you will meet is J. T. Lyon, a delightful senior! J.T. was born in Arkansas and attended George Peabody College in Nashville, which is now Vanderbilt. That’s where he met his wife, Carolyn.

They both were pursuing a master’s degree and after graduating, they moved back to Carolyn’s hometown, Mt. Olive.

However, J.T. found that he could make more money teaching in California ($3,600 a year), so he taught elementary education for 31 years in California. He and Carolyn have lived in Mt. Olive for 12 years.

When asked what he enjoyed most about coming to the center, J.T.’s reply was, “I like to socialize.” Truth is, it is easy to socialize with J.T.

He says that he really doesn’t have any hobbies, but you should see him dance.

A call for action

A recent Government Accountability Office study says one-fifth of nursing home residents live in facilities that put them at risk of death or serious injury.

It is no wonder that many nursing homes have mandatory arbitration clauses in their admissions contracts, forcing families to agree that they will not sue if their parent or grandparent becomes a victim of neglect or abuse in the home. Families aren’t in a position to refuse to sign when there is a shortage of openings or a hospital is insisting on discharging a patient who still needs nursing care.

Arbitration is a good way to settle some disputes, but not a death or serious injury caused by neglect. Especially not when the facility gets to choose the arbitrator, the family has to pay up front to arbitrate the case, and the process is closed to the public.

A bill now in Congress would invalidate these unfair provisions in nursing home and assisted living contracts. If the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act passes, families will get to freely choose whether they want to arbitrate a dispute or bring a case to an open court of law.

It is time to put consumers of long-term care on an equal footing with the large companies that own and operate our long-term care facilities.

Dixie Kuykendall writes a weekly column on Mt. Olive seniors. She can be reached at 631-0049 or at

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