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Jan-05-2014 10:06printcomments

Senior Home Residents Often Shortchanged

Are our public policy makers in hibernation? It's past time to wake up!


(SALEM) - There's a major difference between living in a senior retirement home and a nursing center facility. That first category lacks healthcare supervision. In essence, it's like a hotel for the elderly.

Yes, you do get three square meals as part of your rent ticket. But the emphasis is on creating tasty dishes....and not necessarily healthy ones. In fact, for many seniors, mealtime is their primary social outlet. People form clusters for chitchat to have a sense of constancy. That's to counterbalance the sense of loss these older folks get daily from conditions they cannot control.

In the process, residents get fed oodles of salt-laden food without regard to prevalent healthcare warnings that heavy sodium intake usually raises blood pressure, while heavy carb diets of pasta or rice and roll and cake or pudding spells danger for those having diabetes. Warnings, never!

Under the guise of "free choice", these vulnerable people are served foods that erode their bodies.

Many physicians urge regular exercise to ward off extra weight. But take a glance at a customary menu of activities offered. You'll find films being shown and card games being played. Every so often a speaker is invited to impart information. In a pitch made to nostalgia, old-time music is played for the senior audience, to recall favorites of the past. And there's always some Bingo.

What do these senior activities have in common? All are conducted in a sitting situation, yes.

And that is the seat of the still-silent problem. None of the above enhances circulation. Or helps geriatric muscles to grow stronger and diminish the risk of fractures. Why do we encourage our human bodies to stagnate?

Are our public policy makers in hibernation? It's past time to wake up!



NOTE: A former member on the Arlington VA Commission on Aging, Lee Coyne also taught aging strategies for several colleges in both NYC and Washington, DC. He seeks your own viewpoint at :

B. Lee Coyne, a NYC native, blends three careers: Journalist, Counselor, Educator. His writings have appeared in newspapers and magazines on the East and West Coasts and the Southwest. He loves the art of the interview and has covered such persons as Dr. King's 1963 "Dream" speech and Sen. William

Proxmire as an advocate for the environment. A global traveller to some 30 countries aboard, he speaks Spanish semi-fluently and very rudimentary Russian, Tagalog, German, Arabic and Hebrew.

Lee's legacy here in Salem includes launching the Salem Peace Mosaic at the YMCA and doing a radio talk show for KMUZ/88.5 FM. It airs Mondays and highlights lives of proactive, productive senior citizens. He invites you to contact him at:


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