Lance Robertson, Assistant Secretary for Aging, Promotes Connection During Residents’ Rights Month

This year has been hard on everyone, but the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on residents of long-term care facilities. The statistics and stories from across the country have been heartbreaking—especially for residents, their families and friends, and facility staff. In addition to the direct danger posed by the virus itself, the months of restrictions on visitation and the inability of residents, families, and friends to be together during the coronavirus pandemic have posed real danger. The last few months have driven home for all of us what we already knew about social isolation and loneliness; it increases the risk of physical and mental health decline, especially among older adults. This makes connection of any and every kind all the more essential.

As difficult as this year has been, we stand in awe of the resilience of residents and families—and the people who support them.

I particularly want to recognize Long-term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) programs across the county. These programs educate residents, families, friends, and staff about resident rights, investigate and resolve complaints, and raise awareness about systemic issues that affect residents.

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