Leslie Morgan, Sociology and Anthropology, in the Washington Post

Published: Sep 26, 2011

Lipitz Professor Leslie Morgan, sociology and anthropology, responded to the announcement that an advocate against elder abuse received a MacArthur “genius” grant through a powerful letter in the Washington Post, recognizing the importance of this advocacy but also the unsung heroes of elder care. “Studies show that 60 million Americans provide care to adult relatives, with an average lifetime economic cost per person of $300,000, mostly from early retirement or reduced work hours… The great majority of these caregivers do exemplary jobs, sacrificing free time, sleep and sometimes their own health,” she wrote.

Morgan went on to reference research she conducted with colleagues at UMBC’s Center for Aging Studies that shows “older people in residential-care settings describe both exemplary paid care providers and some who are mediocre or poor.” She argued, “This positive quality of care, however, is not newsworthy, and most news stories focus on the few, horrific cases where abuse or neglect leads to harm or death. In elder care, there are most certainly a few villains but many, many unsung heroes.”

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