Letters to the Editor

By: - June 22, 2005 5:11 am

Fayetteville Observer

Staying active is key for elderly population

Elderly residents need to remain physically active to assist the state’s efforts in reducing costs associated with long-term care services. There are 969,048 people age 65 and older (12 percent of the total population) in North Carolina (2003 census).

The majority of chronic diseases occur as we age and account for the significant increase in health-care costs.

One method to encourage personal responsibility is to support the efforts of our state’s senior residents who live at home, in nursing homes, in assisted living facilities or who participate in adult day care centers to remain physically active. The solution is a health-care policy that establishes education programs to increase the awareness of the importance of physical activities for the elderly.

This policy should also include regulations that require long-term care institutions, adult day care facilities and community centers to provide routine physical activities. In addition, it should provide funds to increase access to public recreation centers that offer physical activities for this population.

Barbara Resnick, a professor of the University of Maryland School of Nursing and a geriatric nurse practitioner, found that "the benefits of regular exercise can prevent disease, decrease the risk of falls and injuries, reduce physical disability, improve sleep, and enhance general well-being."

Other benefits would be reduction of prescription medications, improvement of quality of life and reduced hospitalizations.

Please encourage your elected state officials to introduce a bill that includes these solutions so that this elderly population growing in numbers remains physically active.

Cynthia Bracey, Hope Mills


Many large prisons are smoke-free

The May 26 Associated Press article by Valerie Bauman, "Bill would restrict prison smoking," smacks of nothing less than extreme public semantics and "political posturing." Such a bill has no chance of becoming law and is only in response to lawsuits pending in the courts.

The stated exemptions (Indians and certain religious beliefs) would create a phalanx of racial and religious discrimination lawsuits against the prison department. State prisons director Boyd Bennett’s lame excuses to avoid smoke-free prisons have been effectively belied by the nation’s largest prison systems – California, Texas and 36 other prison systems – which have smoke-free prisons. See Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25 (1993).

The "outside only" smoking has been tried and failed on numerous occasions, including at the three newest prisons (Scotland, Anson and Alexander counties) which purport to be smoke-free but are hardly so to any degree, i.e., there is no restriction.

Jelani Simba, Scotland Correctional Institution, Laurinburg


The state needs a lottery and tolls

Representing all the people of North Carolina is what our elected officials are supposed to do; however, we the people do not see that happening.

The state, the schools and the people of North Carolina need two things:

  • A lottery, from which the proceeds will help finance permanent schools instead of makeshift classrooms in trailers. Also, more teachers (higher-paid teachers) and smaller classrooms to give special attention to those who need it.

    Legislators should not sit with closed minds in Raleigh and then run home on weekends and listen only to those people who occupy the first three rows in their churches. They are not the only voices of the people of North Carolina!

  • We need to establish tolls on our highways to lighten the burden on our state. Both North and West, they pick our pockets with their tolls in order for us to travel through their states. We, on the other hand, allow travelers to use our roads and bear the burden of upkeep through taxing North Carolina residents.

    Tolls located at the following locations would really help our state:

  • Interstate 95 at the borders and Interstate 40 both ways.
  • Interstate 85, both ways.
  • I-77, both ways.
  • I-40, both ends and at the other interstates.

    Most of the travelers are just passing through to the South Carolina and Florida beaches and resorts. They use our roads so let them help pay for the repair of them the same way that we do when we travel on their roads.

    Floyd F. Sweat, Hope Mills


    Daughter needed help, even at age 25

    My 25-year-old daughter is totally blind. She has a four-year degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unable to locate any job possibilities, she decided to return to Fayetteville Technical Community College to become a medical transcriptionist.

    Support services offered her a note taker, but having completed four years with no note taker, she turned it down. All she really needed was help getting the necessary textbook in an accessible form.

    When the support services worker found out the book was only available in print, she told us the book would have to be scanned onto a computer. My daughter told her to make sure it was text form.

    After approximately a month and a half, her secretary said the book was ready. Imagine our disappointment when we found it was not scanned to the proper format. All we heard was excuses about responsibilities. The entire book had to be done again with only two weeks before class started. I ended up doing the book myself. I sent a letter to the college’s president, which hopefully will encourage improvement in their support services.

    Although we should try to make family members with disabilities as independent as possible, we must always be prepared to help them continue to achieve new and better things, regardless of age. There are laws that address situations such as this, but you don’t always have the time to enforce. You may be the first and best resource they have.

    Rhonda Landers, Fayetteville

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    Chris Fitzsimon

    Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina. [email protected] 919-861-2066