Image of nurses' hands at computer keyboard

It’s not every day that advocates for nursing home residents, seniors and the disabled are rewarded for the hard work they do. This week was different.

Some events worth remembering: The House passed the Senate version of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, the House approved legislation setting up a “Silver Alert” system, and the U.S. Commerce Department announced that nursing home residents will be included in a government coupon program to help them buy digital-analog converter boxes for the national transition to digital television. (For more on these events, go to

That comes on top of the Veterans Administration’s disclosure last week that voter registration drives will be allowed in nursing homes and other federally owned facilities where veterans live.

All of these developments represent heartwarming and hard-won victories for some of the most vulnerable people in our country. While most people are probably not even aware of these happenings, those in the know understand that access to the Americans with Disabilities Act and even TV are privileges that most of us take for granted.

Disaster relief

As Washington did its part, it’s worth noting that nursing home residents in Texas could use some help from us ordinary folks in the heartland. Many residents had to evacuate their homes under less-than-ideal circumstances as a result of Hurricane Ike. While member facilities have largely survived, employees and residents are returning to damaged and lost homes and serious personal losses, Larry Minnix, head of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, said in an e-mail to members today.

He asks members to give a donation to help with disaster relief. Contributions can be sent to:

AAHSA Disaster Fund
P.O. Box 758651
Baltimore, MD 21275