Key West needs more and better care facilities for its senior citizens. This blog will discuss ways to do so. The grandiose give-away promoted by the "Florida Keys Assisted Care Coalition" is not the best way. We can do much better.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Citizen Letter to the Editor (July 19, 2007)

Public should decide on assisted living plans

Recently Joan Higgs of the Florida Keys Assisted Care Coalition (FKACC) responded to my concerns about the retirement community they propose for the Truman Waterfront.

Her response continues to distort the issues involved. She stated that there will be 40 assisted units, however she left out the fact that only 20 of those will be affordable. All of the units at Bayshore Manor are affordable (any bed can be subsidized if a need is shown), but only 20 of the 40 units in the proposed waterfront facility would be affordable. The rest would be so expensive that the average Conch would be left out.

She stated that it's convenient to have the assisted units close to the expensive retirement homes because couples might need to split up with one in each facility. But think about it: With the limited number of assisted units available, and the waiting lists that would be involved, what are the odds that two members of a single family will "make the cut" to get into two separate units simultaneously?

Only people with the resources to live in the full-price (non-affordable) units may be able to buy their way into that kind of arrangement. Certainly not the average Conch. Does this justify giving away free use of all of this land for those few cases?

Joan "takes exception" to my claim that FKACC preys on emotions in their attempt to get this free land for their retirement community, but her letter spends several paragraphs talking about "seeing the pain" and "frail couples" being "tucked in."

She accuses those who aren't touched as being outside our "One Human Family" and not being a "compassionate human."

I believe this is exactly the point I was trying to make.

She asks that we trust the FKACC when they say there is no better option.

I'm sorry, there must be other options. People are ready to have assisted living on the waterfront, but they want more than 20 affordable units. They certainly don't want a big set of expensive retirement condos as imposing as the original plan for the Watermark development crowding the park.

Let "us" be the ones to decide which plan is best. Don't try to force a single plan onto us. Give us some options.

David Lybrand
Key West

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