Memphis was a beautiful affair. Not only was the season right, and the weather
incredibly beautiful. All the people and the cause were righteous as well. Each
one of us embraced one another like brothers and sisters. We felt in some strange
way a wierd unity that surpassed all differences, race, religion, disability,
age, gender, all of it. It was just surpassed. We did good work, following up
on HR-20/20. We went to
Tennessee simply because it was worst in the nation as far as ratings in long term care, worst in the nation as far as alternatives to the medical model of alternative care. There was a waiver program existing in not only a full county system, nothing beyond that. Anybody that made any effort to live outside of the system, and outside of the nursing homes would be forced to struggle to find a way out of Tennessee, into another
nearby boardering the states. The extraordinary thing is that Georgia rates 5 sitting on the list for worst in long-term care, and 7 of the southeastern states were included in the top 10 list of worst states in long-term care choice in the nation. That's alarming, a very alarming idea to percieve that in the southeast, there are no real choices outside of the nursing institution set up by the government and the health care in our state and nation. We were there to let others know significantly, or however, we did a little action after passing out the awards. We went to the nearby nursing home where only young people with a disability were enrolled, and brought in to await death in what fashion it may come. Together, they would smoke cigarettes, they would watch t.v., they would watch the clock pass and tick away. They would let their
friends and their family watch them drop off, disappearing into life and its unfolding.
How is it to be so young, to have all of your dreams stolen away in the instant of one tragic moment, and then have the only alternative offered to you by your state, your nation, your family, and your church to die slowly, suffocating in a nursing home with other individuals, either out of mind or out of body, who have aged beyond reason. How can it be for person's who are dependent on a staff who doesn't care, who only consider it a job, a small check, at that.
Persons are neglected by staff, beaten down with words, terrorized by actions... Watched over by a staff who refuse at times to do even the most simplistic activity for you, whether it be to brush your hair, your teeth, or even wipe you up. This happens everyday. This struggle is a reality for2.2 million individuals right now.
What are we to do? Support us, ADAPT in our effort with HR 20/20, the Medicaid Community Attendant Services Act, which would remove the expensive institutional bias and liberate the elderly and disabled populations of individuals present and future. We must work fast so that we can save those who are on the verge of dying now, who are holding on to existence by just a spider's thread. Let us reach out for those.