The other (and darker) side of how many live out the last years of their lives and the poor (but expensive) quality of care will be televised tonight in the US. PBS’ Frontline will air what is termed in Forbes a ‘powerful exposé’, Life and Death in Assisted Living, premiering Tuesday 30 July at 10 pm Eastern Time. It focuses on major problems in assisted living housing, especially at market leader Emeritus. For our many readers who cannot view PBS, the ProPublica investigative journalism group who worked on this series is also publishing a series online with the same title over the next few days and as a Kindle e-book. One case taken up is a woman with advanced dementia and chronic medical conditions who would have been previously in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility (SNF). Your Editor noted that assisted living was developed as an alternative (see next article) to nursing homes in the late 1980s, ironically by the founder of Emeritus who is no longer with the company.
LeadingAge, the association representing US non-profit aging services providers (AL, SNF, home care) and the US branch of IAHSA, has wisely prepared a heads-up for members and press talking points differentiating themselves from for-profit operators like Emeritus, starting with “The Not-for-Profit Difference: Unlike for-profit communities, the leadership at our organization does not “push to fill facilities and maximize revenues.” We are not driven by bottom lines.” On point advice on talking to the press here including a communications lifeline from the association.