Here is a grandmother's letter that was recently sent to legislators. I am posting it in the hope that it will help RHC opponents understand the importance of the programs for which they are advocating closure, and too, that along with the "community," RHCs have also sustained severe cuts in revenue, forcing elimination &/or decline of important services.
"Our grandson is in an institution; and he and many others are in desperate need of the care and safety offered to them there. They are residents that are unable to care for themselves mentally and/or physically. Many do not have families or the families that there are can not physically, emotionally or financially provide the care and safety to their loved one. Our grandson was born with severe Downs Syndrome; is aggressively Autistic and mute. He is unable to care for himself personally and requires 24/7 one-on-one care. After 18 years of being cared for at home, he was placed in an institution and has made lots of progress.
In the short time he has been there, there have been many cuts in the budget and the facilities. First it was the closing of the indoor pool and then progressed to the closing or eliminating of the senior citizen center; infirmary and outside activities. Recently the cafeteria has been closed and food service to the units has been eliminated on weekends. Our grandson and others have had their caregivers reduced from two caregivers for each resident to one caregiver to two or three residents. You can really see how this has affected him and how he has regressed, recently, as I am sure is true with many more of the others. The facilities have suffered severe cuts to their budget already and should not suffer anymore.
Other areas have closed their facilities forcing residents like our grandson into group homes. Residents like him could survive BUT would not be able to function properly. They would have to be heavily drugged and kept under lock and key. These facilities, either funded group homes or private ones, can not offer the educated 24/7 caregivers, daily medical monitoring or the safety that is needed.
We also have to LOOK AHEAD to the fact that when these programs are found to not be working or can not get adequate funding, or in the case of private ones they are not making a profit and have to close, the residents will be left with no place at all. THEN WHAT? We have to look ahead and not just act for the moment.
DON’T SACRIFICE THE RESIDENTS TO BALANCE THE BUDGET. BUT MAKE CUTS ELSEWHERE.
Please rule with your hearts and not your budget. All those like my grandson desperately need our help to be safe, healthy and in the best of conditions possible. Their families also need to have the peace of mind knowing their loved one is safe, healthy, cared for and as happy as possible. Please do NOT eliminate or cut the budgets and funding of these institutions.
"Gram" Donna Evans
(published with the author's permission)