What They’re Saying

• About 60% of senior citizens are undernourished, leading to slower healing and an increased death rate, according to a study conducted by the American Medical Association. The study blamed poor support from nutritional and assistance staff of patients who need help to eat. Senses of smell and taste decrease with age, said one physician. Tom Jackson, medical director of Medical College of Georgia’s Center for Senior Health, told the Augusta (GA) Chronicle: "The government cutbacks in home health programs have cut off the ability of families to get support in the home."

• President Clinton needs to hurry up and prescribe a plan for Medicare, stated an editorial in the St. Petersburg Times. The president was right in rejecting Sen. John Breaux’s (D-LA) plan that would have only added a few years to Medicare. Now, he needs to build upon the strenths of that plan, while correcting the deficiencies of Medicare. "Democrats resist attempts to raise the age of eligibility and want more money for outpatient services, from prescription drugs and physical therapy to home healthcare," the editorial stated. "That approach is necessary to keep the able-bodied elderly from being hospitalized when home-based therapy would do."

• All Ontario citizens do have the right to an assessment for home support services through the Community Care Access Center, one concerned citizen agrees with a previous letter to the editor. But she said, in her own letter to the editor of the Toronto Sun, their chances of getting service are another matter, thanks to Mike Harris’ cuts. A year ago, the woman wrote, she was hospitalized for five weeks due to complications from hip replacement surgery. She was 86 years old at the time, and her husband was 89, she wrote. She said despite their ages, they received no home support. She ended by saying she would like to know how disabled one has to be to get this "right to service."