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BOARDING HOME PROBLEMS

First of all, there has been a great deal said in the papers about the boarding home problem. I am aware of them, and I hope nobody thinks that Senator Domenici came to town to be some kind of a critic, that he has some kind of magic wand.

Quite to the contrary, we all know there is a problem.

The State of New Mexico has a role, and we are not here to criticize; we are here to help. The State of New Mexico recognizes the problem. They may without help be able to solve it; they may not.

The purpose of this hearing is to see that board-and-room facilities for our elderly are as good as we can possibly afford; and where legislation is needed, we hope these hearings will help.

We are prodding, pushing, shoving, coercing, even rethinking ways to help solve the problems. We hope our hearings will contribute somewhat to that.

We are going to proceed now with the witnesses.

Mr. ORIOL. Yes.

Senator DOMENICI. We do have two guests that certainly play a vital role in giving us the facts. We have Leroy Smith, president of the New Mexico Health Care Facilities Association; where is Mr. Smith? We thank you for coming. Mr. Smith will make his statement later on. The Health Care Facilities Association has worked with nursing home care.

And then we have Dr. Robert J. Miller-will you stand up, Dr. Miller-we may have time to hear from Dr. Miller." He is from Truth or Consequences. He is with the American Optometric Association. He is the head of that group. They are interested in the Committee on Aging.

Doctor, we thank you for coming from Truth or Consequences. We hope to hear from you if time permits.

First, we are going to hear from a panel. On this panel are John Segura, Albuquerque; Mrs. Selma Clever, community relations aide, Albuquerque; Mrs. Cora Cooper, Albuquerque; and Mrs. Reyes Abeita, outreach worker, Isleta Community Action program.

John, I think we have agreed you are going to go first, is that correct?

This is Mr. John Segura. John, if you would start, then we will go right to Mrs. Clever.

Mr. SEGURA. All right. I think, as most of you know, we are here on transportation needs for the elderly people.

Senator DOMENICI. John, maybe I could ask one question, and if it is going to be answered in your general statement, wait until then. I am wondering if you have any special problem in persuading elderly persons to participate in the nutrition programs. If you do, do you have any ideas of how we can overcome these problems? It is kind of difficult to get them to participate, is it not?

Mr. SEGURA. No; the greatest problem I have encountered in contacting the people is that they have no means or way of commuting to places where the sites are.

1 See appendix 1, p. 1113.

2 See statement. p. 1109.

Senator DOMENICI. All right. You proceed with your statement, John.

STATEMENT OF JOHN SEGURA, ALBUQUERQUE, N. MEX.

Mr. SEGURA. As most of you know, the elderly people from the south, and that reaches all the way from here down to Isleta, and beyond that point, most of them are from Latin descendants; some of them are indigent, and some are white, but age has no color barrier, and it has no restriction of where you live. This is one of the reasons why at the meal sites now, we have not had as many as we would like to have, because these people live out in an area from, you might say, from North Fort or South Fort all the way to Isleta, and beyond that.

Most of the people, if I spoke to them and asked them to stand, would have a problem, and some of those folks do have automobiles, but others do not have automobiles, and they have to be transported. This being the main cost, than you would see that these people, some of them have not been out of their homes for quite a while.

Some of them are 80, 74, 65, and so on. Some of them have what you might call an ailment, rheumatism, arthritis, and as forth, and these are the problems that hinder them from coming to the various sites for their meals.

Now, not only is that the problem, but there are many other problems that we could talk about for the whole day, and just speak about the many needs they have, just speak about one, would be to deprive the other one from coming into light, but I am not going to speak about all of these. My companions will also speak in those fields.

TRANSPORTATION SHORTAGE ACUTE

I would like to say that some of those folks, unfortunately, could not make it here today, because they could not be brought. That is how bad and acute our transportation is for the elderly people.

For the younger generation, I do have something, and I think that you should always be attentive to those that are older. But I would ask at this time, please help us, that these folks may come and be helped, that they may be able to participate, and then be renovated, and become a part of that field which once was their society, and help you with the many probelms, and with their many experiences in life. I know that you would probably say, "What have they contributed that we might be able to help them?"

If you look about in the State of New Mexico, for these older people, it was a time of trial, and it also was a struggle to come about to this end, but they have kept this State what you call "The Land of Enchantment."

They have come so far that they have already entrusted their work unto the younger generations, so you look about, and you see them. I do not want you to think of those that are old as past, but as a champion of a few days that have passed by, who gave you this land that you have.

It is for this reason that I think that these people who are not able now to perform in the full capacity should be helped by you, and by

our Nation. I wonder all the time, is it possible for us to forget our elderly people. Could you forget your grandfather, could you forget your father, could you forget yourself, because you will be right in the same boat we are in now. So this is one of the things that I would suggest, give us help, that we might help these people.

Give us aid that might let them live the days they have just with the hope you have given them.

Let them have the life which you will have in the days to come. Perhaps, I am one of the fellows that speaks too much, but to the far right, you will see a gentleman over there, a few days ago he could barely walk, but the transportation that has been available, and the food given to him, has made it possible for him to stand, it has made it possible for him to be counted back into a society that he was a part of, so I would like to say, do what you can to save these people.

If not then, maybe we will pass, and you will come to light of the picture later on. But as for now, as the chairman has stated before, he is here with his companions to try to find out. I would say this is the time to start acting, so that part of New Mexico, and part of the rest of the world might know that our Nation still cares for the elderly. Senator DOMENICI. John, let me ask you this: I heard you describe the situation, and you are telling us that transportation, whether it be to meals, or medical type of services, is a very serious problem for the senior citizens. Is that correct?

Mr. SEGURA. Right. The main thing, that needs, let me spell it out a little bit for you. The needs would probably be income, but that is just a minor problem.

The next one would probably be negligence, Medicare, and hospitalization, transportation; but this would probably be one of the minor things you would encounter in the older people today. But you would find that the greatest problem is transportation.

He cannot get to the places where he wants to go. He cannot go to where he would wish to go, simply because he does not have a way and means to get there. If he does, he has to have someone who is kindhearted, or who wishes to help.

Would this answer your question?

Senator DOMENICI. Yes, John. I have a series of photographs from the South Valley senior citizens in front of me taken by photographer Maria Costa. These are photographs of a van with a gentleman, very old, somewhat lacking in capacity to walk. He is being helped down from this panel truck, and I see somebody helping him. They are leading him to the van, this other gentleman. He has a cane.

I assume this describes the function of the senior citizens center in helping this older gentleman get some place where his needs are supposed to be satisfied-food or health services. Am I correct that this is one of the things that you do?

Mr. SEGURA. Yes, of course. As you see there, we only have one bus. Senator DOMENICI. And that bus is actually operated by that senior

center?

Mr. SEGURA. By a group of them, yes.

Senator DOMENICI. Now, how did we get the bus, and where did we get the money to pay for the bus?

Mr. SEGURA. The AAA nutrition program at the Westside Community Center. I am quite sure you are aware where it is. This is one of the places that we have.

Most of our people that are in those pictures come to receive the aid they have in food and in care. At the same time they are transported, as you can see. In the status of their life, they find it difficult to be transported. This is federally funded.

Senator DOMENICI. Do you have enough of that type of transportation to do what the requirements of that center would dictate?

SHORTAGE OF FUNDS

Mr. SEGURA. No, sir. No, sir. Right now, we find one of the worse problems we have is transportation. However, we cannot accommodate all of these folks that need to be helped. The next thing is, we find we are short on funds, and we cannot feed as many as we would like to. The center is quite a distance from place to place. We find a lot of these older folks cannot be helped because it is impossible with the staff that we have.

Senator DOMENICI. I have two remaining questions. On the same series of photographs, your van shows a very elderly woman who obviously uses a wheelchair. It shows her getting out of your van, and being placed in the wheelchair and then I assume the wheelchair would be taken into the center where the food is being distributed.

Mr. SEGURA. Right.

Senator DOMENICI. Do you often have that type of person in the region?

Mr. SEGURA. Yes. In fact, today we have one of the elderly men that could not come for that reason, could not be mobilized. I don't know, but maybe you can ask Mrs. Costa if that young lady is here. Senator DOMENICI. Maria, you made these photographs?

Mrs. COSTA. Yes.

Senator DOMENICI. Do you work there full time?

Mrs. COSTA. I am a volunteer.

Senator DOMENICI. You are a volunteer?

Mrs. COSTA. Yes, I am a volunteer with the metropolitan nutrition project, and we have only recently acquired this bus-which was acquired for us for the nutrition program. I tried simply to give you a picture of the kinds of people we are trying to reach.

There are many, many more we are not able to reach. First the bus operates only 4 hours a day. It belongs to some others. The pictures are simply a way to tell you that this is one way to meet the needs.

Senator DOMENICI. Before we leave this, I would ask that these photographs be made a part of the record,1 and that they be identified by the conversation that we have just had with Maria Costa and our first witness of the day.

MEALS ON WHEELS

One last question. Are you familiar with the meals-on-wheels program?

1 Retained in committee files.

Mrs. COSTA. Yes. I was acquainted with it for about a year or so before we ever started in South Valley. I think it is coming to a close, which I regret to hear. I would like to see it go farther if possible.

Senator DOMENICI. Would you say, based on your observations at this point, Mr. Segura, that many of the people you have helped with transportation, could more easily be helped with the program if the meals were taken to their homes, rather than try to transport them to a place to feed them?

Mr. SEGURA. Yes. Some of the older people cannot be moved because of the medical denials. Some are veterans, and some have medical problems. These are people that could be reached, if outreach could be possibly extended and if our buses could be made more available, they could go out and find these people that really need the services. But we have been serving the people in between, the ambulant ones. Senator DOMENICI. One last request. Could you ask your community center-within the 30-day limit-to give us whatever detailed facts they have about the number of people that need transportation to centers for either nutrition, or health delivery services, and the capacity you now have to deliver them?

Mr. SEGURA. I would be very glad to.

Senator DOMENICI. Would you have that sent to us as per the instructions on the green list. I assume it would be a rather objective analysis.

Mr. SEGURA. I would be glad to do it.

Senator DOMENICI. Let's go to the next witness, Mrs. Selma Clever, community relations aide.

STATEMENT OF SELMA CLEVER, COMMUNITY RELATIONS AIDE, ALBUQUERQUE, N. MEX.

Mrs. CLEVER. Mr. Chairman. I would like to talk about how the meals program got started with the Office on Aging. When we were organizing to work with the senior citizens, we did not want to do anything that would be against the rules of the senior citizens. At our first meeting, we set up an advisory committee. At this meeting there were about 200 people participating. We talked with them about what they would like to do, and it was decided that we would go to a Santa Fe meal site.

On the way back, on the bus, they asked our supervisor if we could have the same thing in Albuquerque. She said. "This is your program, and whatever you would like to have, that is what you will have."

We started our meal program in the summer of 1970, a 21-day pilot program. At this time, I do not have the figures, but we served quite a few meals. Before the school term, we contracted out the APS for two meal sites-one at John Marshall Elementary School, one at Albuquerque High.

MEAL PROGRAM STIMULATES ELDERLY

We served those meals at the school until April 30 of this year. There has been a lot of people that were helped. At first, some of our

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