Contact: Chris Black
The nation’s leading association for professionally managed assisted living companies testified today about the importance of respecting end-of-life choices by aging Americans.
Richard Grimes, president and CEO of the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), said the assisted living philosophy presumes seniors know what is best for them in testimony submitted to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which held a hearing today called Honoring Final Wishes: How to Respect Americans’ Choices at the End of Life.
Grimes said that deference to a senior’s decisions about where and how to live is a bedrock principle of professionally managed assisted living companies. This principle also includes decisions about how to die.
Assisted living residents, like all Americans, are living longer and growing older with the average age of 84 years. Most seniors wish to “age in place.”
“Thanks to the supportive services offered in assisted living communities and the tremendous advances in pharmacology, a clear majority of these seniors choose to stay in their assisted living homes until the end of their lives,’’ said Grimes. “They want to die as they lived, surrounded by friends and a caring staff and comforted by the familiar.’’
In response to this consumer wish, hospice care is fast becoming a standard offering by many ALFA members. ALFA collaborated last year with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association to develop a hospice tool kit. This tool kits guides assisted living staff in helping residents with terminal conditions and their families to make informed choices and select appropriate treatment options.
“The goal is to ensure a high quality of life for residents even as they near the end of life,’’ testified Grimes. “Our members work in partnership with hospice providers throughout the nation to make certain that our terminal residents die a comfortable, dignified and natural death surrounded by those who care.’’
About the Assisted Living Federation of America
The Assisted Living Federation of America is the largest national association exclusively dedicated to professionally managed assisted living communities for seniors. ALFA’s member-driven programs promote business and operational excellence through national conferences, research, publications, and executive networks. ALFA works to influence public policy by advocating for informed choice, quality care, and accessibility for all Americans.
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