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Monday, April 4, 2011 - 9:30am

Senior Advocates Push For Care Choice

Advocates for the elderly are getting nervous about the fate of legislation that would let residents of assisted living homes stay there longer. The bill easily passed the Senate, but with three days left in the General Assembly, the House has yet to vote on it.

Lawmakers reconvene the Session Monday April 11th.

The bill’s sponsor, state Senator Johnny Grant (R-Milledgeville), says SB 178 has widespread support in the House.

"I don’t think there is anything wrong or objectionable with the bill. I think it’s just a matter of scheduling.”

Current Georgia law can force seniors from assisted living to nursing homes when they’re not mobile enough or can’t take their own medications. The bill being considered would allow assisted living facilities to provide more services, similar to those in nursing homes.

Fred Brown says his 88-year-old mother suffers from dementia and wants to keep her in the comfortable setting of her Kennesaw assisted living home.

“If this law does not pass, I don’t think my mother will be around in another year. This is affecting me at this point now.”

In past years, similar bills have been opposed by the nursing home industry, citing safety issues for residents. AARP lobbyist Kathy Floyd says it’s different this year.

“Everybody has gotten behind this legislation – the assisted living facilities, the nursing homes, the consumer advocates – and we’ve all agreed on what this legislation should do.”

Nursing homes don’t want to lose patients—so Floyd says this bill was altered to pertain to larger assisted living homes—25 beds or more.

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