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Sad for area’s grandmas and grandpas
Written by Rae Hart Anderson, Shoreview resident
Posted  9/15/2010
"Happy trails" walking through our senate district turned sad. I am surprised by the number of widows and widowers in our senate district. One man said he and his wife made an agreement they would never put each other in a nursing home. His wife got cancer and he cared for her at home until she died. He lives at home now and knows the neighbors. He is opposed to nursing homes due to how his mother was treated. I worked in a nursing home as a new R.N., and was appalled. I helped report it to the State of Minnesota. I was threatened. An orderly had been sexually abusing one speechless stroke victim and bloodied another stroke victim’s face. That nursing home, after several violations, closed for the good of all.

Since then I’ve worked in and visited many nursing homes, smelled baking pies, and seen visitors coming and going. I still see residents sitting lonely and expressionless watching a tiny TV across a large group area.

Yes, some are happy. Most will quickly state they want to go home. Many had their homes sold, have $50 a month to spend on shampoo and treats, have no car and no family nearby. One man looked at me seriously and said, "The only way I’m leaving here is in a pine box."

Visitors please. Home care is a good alternative. Respecting the wishes of our grandpas and grandmas and ensuring they get to choose and change lifestyles does need some work. I am eager to work on solutions.

Rae Hart Anderson

Rae Hart Anderson is an independent candidate for State Senate in District 50.

Northeaster Opinion