About this book
In this first person narrative, Bette Ann Moskowitz tells what it is like to be a volunteer long-term care ombudsman, and how, with thirty-six hours of training, she entered the unfamiliar world of a nursing home to advocate for its almost-three hundred residents. She brings the reader along as she learns the ropes, makes mistakes and meets tragic and beautiful people struggling for their lives. When she becomes assistant coordinator of the program, she gets an even broader view of institutional life, advocacy, and old age. Problems are big and small: a man discharged for having a sexual relationship with a fellow resident; residents not getting evening snacks; an intelligent resident with mental health problems fighting to be a partner in her own care. Author of DO I KNOW YOU? A Family's Journey Through Aging and Alzheimer's, Moskowitz says advocating for the old and disabled in long-term care can be a transgressive act. "We often oppose the authorities by standing up for the one with two different shoes against the Suits. Sometimes we don't know enough. We have access, but little power. Yet, an ombudsman may be the only thing standing between the resident and disaster." In addition to shedding light on this unheralded and important volunteer health care worker, THE ROOM AT THE END OF THE HALL raises questions about how America and Americans go about the business of old age, and how old age itself is changing as the baby boomer generation enters it.