DEAR EDITOR:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s recent series “Unprotected” brought to light very concerning deficiencies within the state’s oversight of senior living facilities.

About 40% of residents in all residential care facilities have Alzheimer’s (disease) or other dementias, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. I am personally affected because I had to place my wife in a memory care facility at age 59. She has Alzheimer’s and her care at home took too much of a toll on our family, and we were concerned for her safety as the disease progressed rapidly.

I was pleased to see that the (Georgia) 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 a myriad of solutions. I would ask that (District 52 State Rep.) Deborah Silcox and (District 32 State Sen.) Kay Kirkpatrick from my hometown 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.

Dan Goerke

Board chair for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Georgia chapter, Sandy Springs

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