1. Katona, John BSN, RN
  2. Stockdale, Vickie RN

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What a relief that someone at the national level is finally talking about the issues raised in "The Challenge to Come: The Care of Older Adults" (A New Look at the Old, August). When I became the educator at an 83-bed long-term care and Alzheimer unit in January, I looked around for an educational organization that addressed this type of nursing practice. I found none. By 2030 it's expected there will be 71.4 million people in this country age 65 and older. 1 As more people live longer, millions of them will suffer from some form of dementia, including Alzheimer disease. The health care system seems to be oblivious to these issues. Please continue to lead the way for more geriatric nursing education.


Editor's note: We asked some experts in geriatric nursing what resources they suggested for nurses working in long-term care. Their answers included the following:


* The Nurse Competence in Aging project Web site ( is designed to help nurses get immediate answers to clinical questions.


* The special interest group on geriatrics within the National Nursing Staff Development Organization is another good resource: 7794 Grow Drive, Pensacola, FL 32514; (850) 474-0995 or (800) 489-1995;;


* Two other sources are the American Health Care Association (, a federation of state health organizations representing long-term care facilities, and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (, which provides state programs and resources on long-term care.


* Schools of nursing can help identify local geriatric nursing specialists.



"Demeaned, Disparaged, and Dismissed" (Editorial, August) offers such a positive perspective on aging. My 86-year-old aunt Agnes has told me many times that if she gets to the point of no longer being able to think on her own or care for herself, I should put a pillow over her head. And if I don't, she says, she'll come back to haunt me when she dies. I know she's joking, but I know what she means-she doesn't want to suffer or be a burden. I look forward to our Sunday morning chats. I gain such knowledge and strength from them. She shows me that growing old can mean that you have the wisdom and knowledge to handle life-come what may.


John Katona, BSN, RN


Tawas City, MI


Vickie Stockdale, RN


River Edge, NJ




1. Alliance for Aging Research. Medical never-never land. 2002. [Context Link]