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ALFA Honors End of Life Choices
Date:9/24/2008

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The nation's leading association for professionally managed assisted living companies today testified about the importance of respecting the end of life choices made by aging Americans.

Richard Grimes, the President and CEO of the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), said the assisted living philosophy presumes seniors know what is best for them in testimony submitted to the Senate Special Committee on Aging which held a hearing today called Honoring Final Wishes: How to Respect Americans' Choices at the End of Life.

Grimes said that deference to a senior's decisions about where and how to live is a bedrock principle of professionally managed assisted living companies. This principle also includes decisions about how to die.

Assisted living residents, like all Americans, are living longer and growing older. The average age of an assisted living resident is now 84 years. Surveys show most seniors wish to "age in place."

"Thanks to the supportive services offered in assisted living communities and the tremendous advances in pharmacology, a clear majority of these seniors choose to stay in their assisted living homes until the end of their lives," said Grimes. "They want to die as they lived, surrounded by friends and a caring staff and comforted by the familiar."

In response to this consumer wish, hospice care is fast becoming a standard offering by many ALFA members. ALFA collaborated last year with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association to develop a hospice tool kit. This tool kit guides assisted living staff in helping residents with terminal conditions and their families make informed choices and select appropriate treatment options.

"The goal is to ensure a high quality of life for residents even as they near the end of life," testified Grimes. "Our members work in partnership with hospice providers throughout the nation to make certain that our terminal residents die a comfortable, dignified and natural death surrounded by those who care."

The Assisted Living Federation of America is the largest national association serving companies operating professionally managed assisted living communities for seniors. ALFA is the voice for senior living and advocates for informed choice, quality care and accessibility for all Americans needing assistance with long term care. To read the full testimony, visit http://www.alfa.org.


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SOURCE Assisted Living Federation of America
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