Heroes Who Defended Health Care: Citizen Activists along with Collins, Murkowski and McCain

you can read all my blog posts at http://www.generationsofnewyork.com

There was a public debate a few years ago about who was more responsible for the civil rights legislation enacted in the 1960s.  Some said it would not have happened without President Lyndon B. Johnson’s legislative skills and presidential advocacy.  Others noted that the marches, sit-ins, freedom rides and people in the streets led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and others demanded the legislation and it was their nonviolent, direct action that made it possible for the laws that were passed.

Obviously, it took both protest marches as well as key Presidential leadership to pass those laws.  My view is that the massive marches made the difference because no legislators or Presidents including Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman had succeeded much in ending the Jim Crow segregation.

Much credit was given last week to Senator John McCain for his dramatic action to provide the decisive vote to defeat the “skinny” repeal of the Affordable Care Act.   Obviously, he followed his conscience and said his vote was “the right thing to do.”  Two other Republican Senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine had stood steadfast against any bills that would take away health care from large numbers of people.  Susan Collins is Chair of the Aging Committee and has a special concern regarding health care and older persons.

I admire Susan Collins and I have for over forty years because she was my college classmate at St. Lawrence University in the 1970s.  We were both government majors.  Back then, she was the model student who was smart and won academic awards at graduation.   She was well liked by students and faculty.She was a very nice person who was even tempered like she has been in the US Senate.    She displayed her rational approach in her advocacy on the health legislation.

While these Senators made a decisive difference, I have commented before on the importance of the many patient, consumer, health, senior and disability advocates and their organizations who rallied and lobbied to preserve the Affordable Care Act.  Their staunch opposition helped to frighten, educate, and shame many members of the Republican majority.  In the end, the repeal almost passed.  I have no doubt that if they had done so, that our army of activists would rally and battle again until health care coverage for all Americans was restored.

Michael Burgess

Number of Arrests Rising of Older Persons with Dementia

You can read all my blog posts at http://www.generationsofnewyork.com
The New York Times ran a story in the Science section on July 25 (that section usually includes a column on aging) about the increased number of older people with dementia who get arrested because they take aggressive and even physical actions against others in assisted living or other settings.  There was even mention of a person with dementia who was shot for refusing to put down an item being carried, that turned out to be a crucifix.
Readers of this blog know that I reported on an unfortunate incident with an Albany woman with dementia who was arrested and was in the Albany County jail for over two months even though an evaluation determined she had dementia.
The Times article noted that many police departments that are progressive and community minded are now promoting police training in some of the problems of geriatrics and dementia.  The police officers were happy to get the training because they didn’t know how to deal with some of these incidents reported to them.
This is a very concrete recommendation that would be very age-friendly for every community and it would be a tangible action that could be recommended to local municipalities.
Here is the link to the NY Times article.  You may need a subscription to view it.

“Add Arrest to the Indignities of Aging”