Ask Amy: Help for families who have loved ones in assisted living care


Taking care of aging parents is a big concern for a lot of families, especially if you are worried about the care they are getting. One viewer needs advice about her mom, who is living at an assisted living center. We know this is a common issue, and hope answering this question can also help others.

Question: “My lucid, 92-year-old mother is a resident on the ECC unit (Extended Care Center). She has told me at night the nurse/caregivers working are often (helping) 2-3 people. She has soiled herself because it took so long to respond to call light. I need your advice. Was considering notifying state agency but not sure who to contact.”

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Answer: If you need help bringing up a concern to a health care center, there is help available for you. You can contact an ombudsman to help work out the issue. An ombudsman is like a mediator for families and care centers.

The State Office of the Long-term Care Ombudsman has a directory where you enter your zip code and find a representative near you. The ombudsman works independently from the health and human services system to make sure they advocate for residents. the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is independent of the Texas Health and Human Services system. This ensures the state ombudsman and all program representatives advocate for resident interests and change policies.

Ombudsmen can be volunteers or paid employees of agencies that are independent of any long-term care facility. Services are free and confidential.

Call 1-800-252-2412 to speak with an LTC Ombudsman in your area.

The Houston-Galveston Area Council on Aging can also help connect you with someone.

How you can help others dealing with assisted living home issues

Often, these volunteer ombudsman positions are filled by people who have already dealt with similar situations. The state is always looking for people to sign up for these positions. Here’s what the state website says about people who might be interested in helping others who may need it: People who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities may have little or no contact with the outside world. Many feel they lack control over their lives. A volunteer LTC ombudsman who visits regularly can be the highlight of a resident’s day and ensure residents get good care.

The state provides training, tools and ongoing support.

About the Authors:

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.