To the editor:
Last October, like many people of our age, my four sisters and I found ourselves in the position of caring for an elderly parent. It was a difficult decision, but we knew the best and necessary choice for our 97-year-old mother was a long-term care facility. Even though the facility we chose was the best we could find, we knew we must remain vigilant. We traveled to Ames nearly every day to stay with her. My sister, who is a nurse, was able to keep track of her health needs.
Even with our vigilance, however, there were issues that needed to be addressed. The staff was cooperative and caring, but a situation did arise that resulted in the firing of a caregiver. My mother was fortunate to have family close by helping to make decisions and making sure her needs were met. Sadly, many elderly people do not have this benefit. In fact, in Iowa it has become acceptable by our present governor and GOP lawmakers to neglect our most vulnerable citizens. As noted in many news sources, they have done this by refusing to fund the most basic services needed. They have appointed people to advocacy positions who do not advocate. They boast about big tax cuts and how they will put a few more dollars into your pocket, while at the same time defunding services required for basic human needs of people who do not have a voice.
This is not just some whiny liberal opinion. It is a fact. The Iowa Long-term Care Ombudsman’s Office has been cut from 17 to 12 employees. Their cars have been taken and they are not allowed to enter the facilities they are supposed to be monitoring. The Iowa Department of Aging now has 17 employees when nine years ago there were 40. The head of these departments are not advocating for the seniors in this state. They are yes-men for the present leadership. This is worse than embarrassing. It is immoral. It is the responsibility of every voting citizen to change this behavior and start serving our elderly citizens.
So do yourself, your loved ones, and all senior citizens in Iowa a favor on April 10 and vote for a candidate who will strive to right this wrong. Tracy Freese for Senate Dist. 25 would be a good place to start.