April 25, 2002

Rep. Berkowitz Leads Tour Of Area Nursing Homes

Rep. Sam Berkowitz, D-Memphis, will lead experts on nursing home care on a tour of local facilities on Friday, April 26.

"I really want to show off the great work that the nursing centers in the First District are doing," said Rep. Berkowitz. "Over the last six to eight months, I've had occasion to travel facilities all over the state, and believe me, the care received at the facilities we will visit is first-rate".

The group will include Elsie Gaber, the Directory of Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medi-cine's Aging in Place program, along with representatives of the Alzheimer's Association, the Missouri Health Care Association, the state's Elderlink program and representatives of two area nursing homes. The group will meet in Kirksville and tour Schuyler County Nursing Home in Queen City, Scotland County Care Center in Memphis, Clark County Nursing Home in Kahoka, Lewis County Nursing Home in Canton, Knox County Nursing Home in Edina, and Twin Pines Adult Care Center in Kirksville.

"The main issue I want to highlight on the trip is the need for, and the importance of, Alzheimer's units within care facilities," said Rep. Berkowitz, who last year won a special award from the Missouri Alzheimer's Association for his work in the legislature on behalf of those with the disease. "These units make a huge difference in the care of those who suffer from the disease, and provide peace of mind for the families of its' victims".

Rep. Berkowitz gained special knowledge of the nursing center situation throughout the state of Missouri in his role as chairman of the House Interim Committee on Nursing Home Caregiving last fall. During that committee's hearings, members traveled around the state, touring facilities and taking testimony from elder care experts, residents, families and citizens. The committee spawned several pieces of legislation on various topics of elder care that are now working their way through the legislative process.

"The time is now to start helping our older residents who need the care of nursing centers," said Rep. Berkowitz. "There are a myriad of issues that need to be addressed, and we are working on them in Jefferson City. But even though there are many problems within the elder care system in the state of Missouri, the nursing homes in the communities of First District are doing wonderful things, many times with limited resources. I am proud of the work they are doing for some of our most vulnerable citizens, and I want to tell their stories to as many people as will listen. That's what this tour is all about."

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