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A call to conscience for the seniors

Posted: May 16, 2008 3:05 a.m.
Updated: July 17, 2008 5:01 a.m.
There's a lot I can't do for the elderly. I can't cure them. I can't feed them. I can't give them shelter.

But I can remind Santa Claritans of what we are doing with those among us who are too old to care for themselves.

I see the renaissance of our city, and a conversion of run-down buildings into appealing and upscale businesses.

I see much-needed development of a sports complex, community center and library.

I see magnanimous charitable giving for our youth and for cures for diseases.

I cannot see help for our elderly. They are invisible, lingering in the shadows of our success and our affluence.

Our seniors are being written off, shoved under the rug, and driven out of town in despair.

Our non-profit "community" hospital is closing its Transitional Care Unit, a facility that countless seniors have exclaimed they could not have survived without.

The hospital Board of Directors unanimously voted to close the unit despite pleas from the community to allow this invaluable facility to remain open at least until an alternative becomes available.

Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital is promoting its master plan with the blurred vision that none of our residents will have to leave our valley for care ... none except the elderly, the most frail and vulnerable among us.

I can't provide low-income housing for seniors on fixed incomes to shield them from homelessness. I can't supply medicine and treatment as Medicare benefits decrease. I can't offer financial help to the Senior
Center, which is desperately struggling to be a lifeline for its ever-growing clientele, refusing to turn away the frail in need or compromise the dignity of the elderly.

There's a lot I can't do, but above all I can't just walk away.

The pendulum has swung too far to the side of leaving the elderly to fend for themselves, and we must return to balance. Bring our elders out of the shadows and into the light.

This is a call to conscience, Santa Clarita.


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