Letters to the Editor

Letter: Expand, don't deplete, Valley Hi

To the Editor:

May none of your readers ever need skilled nursing in McHenry County. Many will. I have been concerned about recent reports that the McHenry County Board, headed by Chairman Jack Franks, is suggesting a paltry $150 tax refund to local citizens from the reserves at Valley Hi Nursing Home.

Leslie Schermorhorn’s letter (Feb. 17) prompted me to write in strong agreement with her views. What is $150? It’s not even a car payment for most. What does it cost to care for a senior with multiple health issues and/or dementia? Thousands of dollars a month.

My sister and I have needed help with our mother, who has dementia, since 2012.

Like so many, Mother planned for her retirement, but not for this devastating and lingering disease. When we moved home to Woodstock, and she still had money, she was in a lovely for-profit facility nearby.

Most senior living facilities are for profit – and few offer skilled nursing. When her money was depleted, we searched for a place that accepted Medicaid. We found this county is pretty much devoid of any such facility; and if they do accept, there are long waitlists. Some places we toured, far from home, were so dreadful; we wouldn’t leave a dog there.

I think that Franks’ opinion (NWH Feb. 14), “Some have argued that Valley Hi should spend the money to expand. … It is unconscionable to spend taxpayer money that we never should have accumulated in the first place. That sort of mentality is one of the reasons why so many people distrust government at best and despise it at worst. ...” is, well, unconscionable.

Come on. That’s not why we distrust government, and you know it. Perhaps he personally could afford the $5,000 or (much) more per month to have a loved one cared for, maybe even at home. Most can’t.

I don’t understand why he, or anyone, would object to expanding Valley Hi. I think that’s exactly what needs to happen!

Oh, did I mention Mother was on a waitlist for three years before we moved her into that truly wonderful place? Our seniors deserve to be priorities.

Julie Miller


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