City PoliceThe chickens have come home to roost in the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 18, 1993

City Police

The chickens have come home to roost in the Baltimore City Police Department, which has been in steady decline since Bishop Robinson left.

In order to get it right again you either have to dig up Donald Pomerleau or bring back Bishop Robinson -- and while you're at it, give the power to appoint police commissioners back to the governor.

Has it not been proven that police commissioners are appointed on a political basis? Has it not also been evident that Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke is trying to run the police department and Baltimore City -- and done poorly at both?

The city that reads is in reality the city that bleeds, full of rhetoric and do-nothings.

Drug free neighborhood

Stop the killing

Turn in your guns

Say no to drugs

Candle light vigils

Who are they appealing to with this rhetoric? Surely not the folks Councilman Lawrence Bell was concerned about. I hope Mr. Bell sticks by his guns (pun intended): No results in six months, out!

Michael Pucci

Baltimore

Constant Care Cost

The Alzheimer's Association is a non-profit organization that serves families caring for loved ones who frequently require nursing home care. As co-chair of the public committee of the Alzheimer's Association, I would like to address issues raised in an article on Medicaid published on Feb. 17.

This article gave the impression that middle class elderly are "gobbling up" Medicaid dollars. While it may be true that a large percentage of elderly nursing home residents on Medicaid were not poor enough to use the program before they entered the nursing home, the following may give a better picture of what happens in most cases.

About half of nursing home residents have Alzheimer's disease or related dementia disorders. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disease which results in memory impairment and eventually leaves the victim totally dependent on others for care. The course of the disease can last from 3 to 15 years.

About two-thirds of persons with Alzheimer's are cared for at home by families. The care required is constant, takes 24 hours a day, and is often given by an elderly spouse. Most services which supply relief from this care, adult day care or in-home paid help, are not covered by Medicare or private insurance and are paid for out of pocket by the family or simply not used.

It costs approximately $18,000 a year to care for an Alzheimer's patient at home. Over the years, family care-givers become physically, emotionally and financially exhausted. Nursing home placement is decided on usually as a last resort, when the care-giver is no longer able to care for their loved one. When caring for someone with a chronic disabling disease, it does not take long for a "nest egg" of $60,000 to disappear.

Everyone will eventually be touched by the need for long-term care, whether it is for elderly parents, a disabled child, or a worker who has become disabled on the job. We are all now paying for the cost of providing this care in one way or another. Now more than ever, we need a long-term care plan which spreads these costs equitably.

Stephanie Lyon

Baltimore

Losing Weight

We are concerned by the omission of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center and other hospital-based programs from Daniel Amdur's article on area weight-loss plans (Feb. 16).

Confining the report to commercial centers fails to inform readers adequately about local options and does not guarantee that the person seeking help will in all cases be guided toward the most appropriately qualified professionals.

Lori Wiersema

Lawrence J. Cheskin, M.D.

Baltimore

The writers are clinical coordinator and director, respectively, of pTC the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center.

Responsibility

I applaud House Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr. for his efforts to get a bill passed that would limit and then deny extra welfare benefits to women who keep having babies.

People have to begin to take responsibility for their actions and begin thinking of someone other than themselves -- namely, the children they already have, their unborn children and society forced to bear their financial burden.

How are we ever going to teach people to be responsible and dependent upon themselves when we make it so easy for them to continue to be dependent on others?

Kevin Appleby feels that this bill would put pressure on women to have abortions or take Norplant.

Well, if they took Norplant (or some other form of birth control) then they wouldn't have to resort to abortions. Since abstinence doesn't seem to work so well (Baltimore rates first in teen pregnancy), what's wrong with taking precautions?

Charles Forbes complains that this bill says. "If you're poor, don't have babies." I say,"That's right."

Why should I have to spend my hard-earned money so a welfare recipient can have as many children as she wants when I know that in order to give my own children the best quality of life, I should only have one or two?

Do I, as a member of the tax-paying society, owe more to these women and their children than I do to my own?

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