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A colorful fall promises to spark a warm winter.

All right, how many of you are still exhausted from the fall schedule? I'm not just talking about the exciting baseball postseason series, though they were a factor.

A flurry of fall conferences of all different stripes and colors--from healthcare design to financial management to the people who keep the nation's long term care facilities operating--kept a lot of us moving about the country. Like autumn itself, the shows are expected but never fail to catch your attention.

Moving into winter, however, it's easy to get caught in the year-end scramble and forget about what we learned. For me, the biggest lesson was that 2005 will be a busy year when it comes to long term care.

Already, issues associated with saving Social Security have begun to take center stage. It's but one of the myriad healthcare issues that will spark further debate. No doubt, more discussion on tort reform won't be far behind.

And to think I used to count the days until pitchers and catchers reported to spring training.

One more note: the October edition had already gone to press when an email from a reader arrived. The letter to the editor was in response to our September cover story on the growing population of gays and lesbians in long term care facilities.

This gentleman was disappointed by what he saw on the cover, but it's not what you might think.

He wrote: "One of the best approaches to make members of the GLBT community feel welcome is to stop using the term 'alternative lifestyle.' Alternative to what? ... As activity director, I help the residents at my facility celebrate long lives and loving relationships without judgement or censorship. Everyone benefits from sharing and remembering the wonderful people in our lives, and all our residents are loved by extended families in a variety of relationships."

I'll leave the "values" battle to morph into something even more vague over time, except to say this: Having attended a handful of long term care industry conferences, I think the concerns that reader has for the residents in his facility are pretty close to those of most readers.

The values expressed by the people I met were about the people for whom they care. Perhaps it's just as simple as that.
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Title Annotation:Perspective
Author:Sinclair, Matthew
Publication:Contemporary Long Term Care
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 1, 2004
Previous Article:Business as usual.
Next Article:States eye LTC sector for help on Medicaid costs.

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