Neglected seniors in independent living facilities

A woman walks to her room at a senior care home in Calistoga, Calif.
A woman walks to her room at a senior care home in Calistoga, Calif.Eric Risberg/Associated Press

Bravo to the authors who brought to light Massachusetts’ neglect of vulnerable, high-risk seniors in independent living facilities (“Senior independent living population needs coronavirus care too,” Opinion, May 19). As both a health professional and a new resident in a highly regarded local facility, I have been amazed and horrified by the official hands-off response to the recent COVID-19 diagnosis of one resident and the virus-related death of another. What was needed was immediate contact tracing of both individuals and follow-up testing of staff and other residents as needed. To date, almost a month after we were informed of the virus in our midst, none of this has occurred.

Though many of us still enjoy being mentally alert and on our feet, most live with one or more chronic health problems that make us poster children for viral infection and transmission. As we face the prospect of a second wave of infection as restrictions are gradually lifted, we desperately need the governor and statewide and local boards of health to ensure that we are provided with the protection that is currently available to residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.


Suzanne Goren


The writer is a retired faculty member of the University of Washington’s nursing program.