Your special report “Left to Suffer” (Nov. 12-16) left me shuddering. “Thousands of allegations” in Minnesota are a vulnerable adult’s nightmare, a family’s anguish and our state’s shame. When families are unable to care for someone at home, they rely on institutions to do that, assuming that medical care, both physical and mental, is adequate to the task of caring for a variety of special needs and rectifying problems that arise. Although I feel blessed to be hale at age 70, I know that at some point I may not be able to live at home. My great fear is that the problems regarding lack of respect for human life, a lack of supervision, inadequately qualified and trained caregivers, and contorted legal responsibilities will be hard to overcome quickly. I am worried about my future.
Marie Ward, West St. Paul
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The recent articles about alleged abuse of vulnerable adults in Minnesota assisted-living facilities is very disturbing. The main problem, as I see it, is not with the state Health Department and its lack of staff to investigate complaints. Most assisted-living facilities are simply not designed or staffed to provide care to elderly people with more than a few dependencies. They were intended to provide a homelike environment for “light” nursing-home residents. Unfortunately, the unbridled growth of assisted-living facilities, here and around the U.S., has resulted in many facilities accepting residents whose needs are well beyond the capacity to provide safe care. Instead of blaming the Health Department, try passing legislation that will limit who can move into assisted living. The safety and well-being of our vulnerable Minnesotans should be our No. 1 priority.
Paul Mikelson, Minneapolis
The writer is a retired long-term-care executive.
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Are “we” shocked enough after reading the Star Tribune series on elder abuse? Will “we” stand up and finally work together to solve the epidemic abuse happening to the elderly in senior-living facilities throughout the state? “We” need to come together to find the solutions that end the atrocities. By “we,” I mean organizations such as ours, the care providers, legislators, the governor, regulatory agencies, gerontology and other experts, members of law enforcement, nurses, and doctors. Our organization of senior-living-facility residents and family members are ready to work together to find solutions, now.
Kristine Sundberg, Shorewood
The writer is president of Elder Voice Family Advocates.
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As you publish stories about abuse and neglect in Minnesota’s nursing homes and care centers, please also publish accounts of excellent care.
Obituaries in the Albert Lea Tribune often include a paragraph in which a family expresses thanks and appreciation to nurses and other caregivers for long-term, caring treatment of a resident.
Alyce Jacobsen, Albert Lea, Minn.
Proposed change is really just extremists in action
When our family of six with four young children first moved to Minnesota 45 years ago, one of the first things we did was explore the wonderful city lakes of Calhoun, Harriet and Lake of the Isles. We settled on Lake Calhoun as the place to go to the beach, walk the paths and enjoy the beauty.
This was all before extremist political activists took over the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County. By that statement, I mean that these governments seem to abide by whatever these loud activists want — not the majority of area residents who peacefully go about their lives. The renaming of Lake Calhoun to a name that the majority of people do not even understand — or want — makes no sense.
I, for one, thank Secretary of War John C. Calhoun for having the foresight to build Fort Snelling to protect the free movement of river trade. If he had not, my wife and I would not now be members of the beautiful Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel.
Going back in history to find some reason to take down a statue or remove names is idiotic in my mind. As an example: Why don’t they rename the city and state of New York? It was named for the Duke of York, who went on to become King James II, a widely reviled monarch who was eventually forced off the throne and died in exile.
Bob Maginnis, Edina
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Can anyone tell me what benefit it is to the Indian community to give a Minneapolis lake an Indian name? Does it improve their job opportunities, better health or rehab care or better housing options? I think not, and if not, let’s think about doing something that will improve their lot in life.
Daniel Winter, Edina
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I am a Japanese-American living in Minnesota. I am the grandson of a Japanese-American who was able to leave the internment camps by joining the U.S. Army; he served at Camp Savage. My Japanese-American great-grandparents lost their grocery stores and home in San Francisco during the war, and with it their ability to identity as both Japanese and American. The only memorial I have of the service my grandfather gave to this country is his gravestone at Fort Snelling and a plaque at a dog park where Camp Savage once stood. I can’t even put into words the emotions I would feel if I were to lose those memorials.
Change is difficult; nostalgia is powerful, and I empathize with those who have strong ties to the Lake Calhoun name. But I know their nostalgia pales in comparison to the fury I feel about my Japanese-American identity being taken from me. Bde Maka Ska will be a fine name to memorialize a culture that many choose to forget.
Michael Ohama, Minneapolis
Regardless of mitigation, moving homeless for this isn’t proper
Regarding “Super Bowl will force homeless to move” (Nov. 16): While the Super Bowl Host Committee’s covering the costs of the relocation is a first step toward mending the issue, the psychosocial impact the patrons of the First Covenant Church shelter may experience needs addressing. What does this decision say to the people in Minneapolis relying on shelter services? I understand the shelter’s location is within the “security perimeter” and that the relocation to St. Olaf Catholic Church will ultimately have “less impact” on the guests than if they were to stay. However, regardless of the accommodations, displacing people from shelter — a basic human right — is disgraceful if done for an event where many of those attending have no issue meeting this basic need. Many people complain they cannot go to the Super Bowl because tickets are too expensive. Imagine how it feels to be kicked out of your residence to accommodate safety concerns at a nearby event you cannot attend.
At the shelter where I volunteer, after a long day of work or job-hunting, many of the guests crowd around the television and enjoy a football game together. Individuals experiencing housing insecurity deserve to have the opportunity to enjoy Super Bowl Sunday just as millions of others do, rather than being put out or rejected because they were unfortunate to reside in a Super Bowl city.
Jen Garness, St. Paul
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We read of our Host Committee contributing a lot to improve our community and the event experience. How about giving a few of the local shelter guests the opportunity of a lifetime in a drawing for game ticket packages: hotel, food, game tickets, etc. Now that would be a gesture for the record books!
Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis