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Mary’s Message: Resident Rights

Dear Residents, Families and Friends,

Welcome to (what we hope will be) the warmer month of May, one in which we annually honor our moms, veterans, and older Americans! On April 18, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed a Proclamation establishing May as “Senior Citizens Month.” He noted the need to increase community awareness of the problems faced by older men and women; strengthen services and opportunities to meet their special needs; give recognition to their past and present contributions; and “make this special month the beginning of continuing interest and activity on their behalf.”

Today, we know it as “Older Americans Month,” and its purpose has broadened to include an acknowledgment of the right of aging Americans to make their own choices and maintain personal autonomy to the greatest extent possible as they grow older. A vital guarantor of that personal decision making is the Assisted Living Resident’s Bill of Rights, which, among many other things, ensures a resident is given the opportunity to exercise his/her rights as a U.S. citizen. This, of course, includes the right to vote!

Here at Kensington Park, we take all these legal protections very seriously. The decision that a person lacks the competence to vote cannot be made by a long-term care facility, hospital, guardian, family member, poll worker or election official. Whether or not a resident wants to vote is entirely up to them. As primary season approaches, our Activities team has been working with the Montgomery County Board of Elections to ensure we’re ready. Residents will have the option of voting by absentee ballot or they can fill out their ballot with the assistance of CBOE staff who come right here to our campus.

Civic participation is an important part of a resident’s right to self-determination and helps us maintain a healthy democracy. We’re here to help our residents through the process!