When Mom's caregiver doesn't care | May 1
Relatives must keep tabs on care
As I read this article on the frequent abuse of those living in Florida's ALFs (assisted living facilities), I not only feared for my own future but felt my heart breaking for those I cannot help. It is so important for friends and relatives to frequently visit those living in ALFs or nursing homes and check to see that they are being properly cared for. In doing so, I have found some eye-opening situations and have become a very loud and clear advocate for various friends in need.
Sadly, abuse of the frail and elderly is not limited to nursing homes or ALFs and often occurs in private homes where the family is the abuser. Many of these victims still legally have their rights, yet choose to live under an abusive relative rather than risk going into an ALF or nursing home. Sometimes their situation becomes worse than in any ALF.
Florida has some wonderfully dedicated people working for the Department of Children and Families, and they do the best they can to handle their huge caseloads. For the present, it is incumbent on all of us to report abuse when we see it and never to hesitate to go toe to toe with abusers.
Those of us who are strong must always advocate for the weak, and things will bet better.
Adele Ida Walter, Tampa
When Mom's caregiver doesn't care | May 1
Many get high-quality care
Unfortunately there are horrible stories in every form of caregiving. How people can treat people with anything but dignity is something most of us cannot fathom. Everything should be done to address issues like the ones in this article.
However, we should also remember that there are thousands of people in Florida who receive high-quality care in assisted living communities. Thousands of people live in a place they call home, with the involvement of family, in caring and loving environments with committed caregivers.
I wish the horrible stories did not happen, but please balance this with the good that is done for our seniors every day by hardworking, dedicated people.
Luanne Reese, Dunedin
Prosecute the abusers
Something is seriously wrong with a society that permits its elderly to be treated the manner described in this disturbing article. Abuse and neglect of the elderly is a crime and should be prosecuted fully.
We rightfully don't condone children being abused, and the elderly should not be treated as any less. Adult homes were found using cages and ropes as restraints. Wasn't a law recently passed limiting the time your pet dog can be tied outside? Surely our elderly deserve better.
Deborah Green, Sun City Center
On April 27 a devastating storm system swept across the South. Tuscaloosa, Ala., home to the University of Alabama, was one of the worst-hit areas. I am a senior at the university and lived in an apartment at the center of a severely damaged area. I was fortunate that I was not home when the tornado hit; however, my apartment was destroyed.
Over the past few days, as I have sorted through the debris and tried to salvage what belongings remained, I have been amazed by the strength of the Tuscaloosa community. Where I found destruction, I also found hope. Employees of a restaurant handed out free dinners; members of local churches handed out water and helped people sort through the wreckage.
My junior year came to an abrupt end. There will be no final exams, no May commencement, and no good-byes. We packed up our things and were told to get out as soon as we could. My heart breaks as I sit in my Florida home and think about the Alabama family I left behind.
So I put this call out to my fellow Florida residents. Help your neighbors to the north. If you can give nothing, please pray.
Theresa Mince, Spring Hill
National coverage needed
The tragic loss of life and property due to tornadoes across our country begs for a long-term solution. Florida lawmakers continue to pander to insurance companies. Meanwhile, Florida homeowners are paying increases of 30 percent to 70 percent this year for windstorm and property coverage.
There should be a federal insurance program covering catastrophic losses available to all homeowners across the country. The federal government has done a great job of establishing and overseeing our flood insurance program. Are any of our lawmakers working on a similar program for catastrophic losses?
Lawmakers should be held accountable for their lack of effort on this issue. Perhaps the insurance lobby has been too influential. We deserve nothing less than a national catastrophic insurance plan.
Amy Kalmans, Naples
School staff decries cuts | April 27
Who in the Pinellas County School Board or administration has the power to tell teachers attending a board meeting they do not have the right to applaud? Where is it written in the U.S. or state Constitution?
A caption with this article stated that "members of the audience show appreciation for a speaker … by quietly waving hands in the air after being told they could not loudly applaud."
Who told them? And where in blue blazes do they think that absurd power comes from? Teachers have been assaulted with enough indignities in recent months without little Napoleons heaping on yet more.
Joe Arthur, Dunedin
Burdening public servants
The Florida Legislature is balancing the budget on the backs of its teachers and other public servants. How is it that those of us who have devoted our lives to teaching Florida's children and protecting life and property are the ones to pay so dearly for financial mishandling at the state and federal levels?
The cost will be catastrophic. Teachers will flee, and schools will no longer uphold the Constitution's declaration of the "fundamental value" of educating children and the right that free public education be "uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high-quality."
The retirement benefits received by state employees are modest. For example, a retired public school teacher's pension amounts to about $325 per week — hardly the windfall that pension opponents are claiming. If you look at education support personnel, that weekly benefit falls to about $195 per week.
Think again and do the right thing. The hit on government workers is unconscionable.
Julie Schletter, Largo