October is National Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights Month, a time to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices many long-term care residents have made to better our communities, and to call attention to the rights of residents in long-term care (LTC) facilities. This year’s theme—My Voice, My Vote, My Right—was selected to call attention to the fact that residents of LTC facilities still have the right to vote and participate politically. Residents of LTC facilities have experienced many important historical and political events. It is important that they are given the opportunity to continue to participate in the political process and that voting is made accessible to them.
Simple acts such as voting enable the residents to remain a vibrant part of their communities, something that is so important to all of us. By listening to residents’ voices, we honor their lives and experiences as well as treat them with dignity and respect. Allowing residents in our LTC facilities to make decisions about issues that affect them and have a say in their care improves not only their quality of life but also enhances their relationships with their care staff and improves the care provided.
I encourage community members to visit those they know in long-term care facilities, volunteer in a facility, participate in Residents’ Rights Months events, or inquire about becoming a volunteer long-term care ombudsman. Your assistance and attention helps to ensure that the voices of long-term care residents do not go unheard and demonstrates to residents that they have not been forgotten.
Director, Long-Term Care
Area Agency on Aging 3