Association provides support to nonprofit nursing homes and consumers

HOWARD COUNTY SENIORS

January 06, 1993|By Dolly Merritt | Dolly Merritt,Contributing Writer

The voice on the other end of the telephone often sound

distraught.

"My mother can't live by herself anymore, and I am working full time. Is there a place where she can live in dignity and comfort?"

Such questions are among the calls that Ann M. MacKay, president of the Maryland Association of Non-Profit Homes for the Aging (MANPHA) receives during a normal day's work.

The Ellicott City-based group was started informally in the 1970s by a group of nonprofit nursing homes in response to some "nursing home scandals," said Ms. MacKay.

The Maryland affiliate of the American Association of Non-Profit Homes for the Aging, it now represents 87 nonprofit facilities statewide.

The member facilities include independent living apartments, assisted living housing, nursing centers and continuing care retirement communities.

In addition to being a resource center on available housing for the elderly, MANPHA also represents its member homes through leadership, advocacy and education. The organization also helps save the facilities' money through group purchase programs, which enable them to buy food, supplies, equipment and insurance.

Ms. MacKay estimates that about 15,000 elderly are being serviced by members of her organization with 7,000 individual living apartments, 1,200 assisted living housing units and 6,000 nursing care beds.

Since its beginning, Ms. MacKay says that nursing beds and apartments for seniors have doubled.

"The organization has grown to reflect the growth in the retirement community and the need for long-term services," Ms. MacKay said.

MANPHA is "an informational clearing house," said Leslie Goldschmidt, administrator of the Bon Secours Extended Care facility in Ellicott City.

Mr. Goldschmidt says that MANPHA keeps members posted on things such as "new legislation [on senior issues] in Congress."

Mr. Goldschmidt cited the educational aspects of the organization as well. MANPHA workshops, presented 12 times a year to member facilities, cover a variety of topics such as dementia, reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and working with aggressive residents.

Mr. Goldschmidt says MANPHA means members can speak with a "collective voice" on various senior issues. "Any one facility wouldn't have the time to do that alone," he said.

MANPHA also distributes a monthly newsletter that informs members of the latest happenings, including regulatory changes, technical issues, news about members and staff and resources such as books, videos and workshops.

The organization recently launched a one-year public education campaign called "It's About Choice; It's About Care" on housing and health care options for seniors. The campaign consists of public service announcements that will be presented on radio, TV and in the newspapers.

"There's a negative image associated with aging, and the national organization wanted to develop a campaign to represent a more positive one of nursing homes and other housing that is available," Ms. MacKay said.

"One of the biggest needs is for affordable housing, especially for the frail. . . . The population that is 85 years old and over has grown the most."

All members of MANPHA pay annual dues that can be as low as $300 for a small group, up to $12,000 for a large facility, and must be nonprofit, licensed and meet both state and federal regulations.

"We are governed by a volunteer board of trustees, most of whom have some roots in community, religious, or fraternal organizations," Ms. MacKay said. The 14 trustees each represent a particular aspect of senior housing such as retirement communities, HUD housing, senior assisted housing and nursing homes.

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