Monday, April 23, 2018

Letter to the Editor: Don't Lose Sight of the True Purpose

Scott D. Schultz
Founder and President
Morning Star Care Homes
Fredonia, Neodesha, Baldwin City, Ottawa

Dear Editor,
My wife and I founded Morning Star  Care Homes in memory of our grandparents who suffered in institutional nursing facilities because we wanted something better for our parents' generation. We knew that we were called to create real home environments for all levels-assisted, memory and total care-as alternatives to traditional nursing facilities. We know our residents as our own family members and treat each person with the highest level of care.
 In the burgeoning Senior Living industry, the problem is not that we are unprepared for the massive influx of baby boomers needing care. The problem is that with this demographic change at the door, the corporate Senior Living industry is not just unprepared, it is in complete crisis and chaos.
A New Jersey company allowing 36 facilities in Kansas and Nebraska to be taken over by the State to protect elderly residents is barely news these days. The stories come so regularly we are desensitized to the horror. Residents in Houston up tp their hips in flood water. Heat-related deaths in Florida because the facility failed to evacuate. Local facilities put on the State of Kansas watch list.
And lest our non-profit facilities, our home health, home care and hospice claim the high ground, they regularly receive publicity about committing Medicare fraud, or for employing caregivers who steal their client's assets while working in their personal residences.
The largest provider of Senior Living in the United States was reportedly in talks about selling out to the Chinese, and now discusses its proposed solutions as a "strategic pivot." As an owner and operator, I mused as to how one "pivots" after accepting responsibility for the health and welfare of 100,000 residents and a roughly similar number of employees, then financially while the former CEO took home $6.6 million in pay. Some of the large players are currently investing profits in professional sports franchises.
After all these years in business I continue to believe in the following fundamentals for our care homes: Maintain local ownership and operate a small number of facilities to insure you are involved at the ground level. Staff to the level of care the residents need. Provide a real home enviroment. And finally, be ethical in all you do.
It is imperative that the corporate Senior Living industry not lose sight of the true purpose of our chosen profession. We all must do better to implement solid solutions before the wave of seniors arrives.

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