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It is widely known that the for-profit nursing home corporations have very deep pockets. This is clearly evidenced by the obscenely high annual salaries (think: multimillion dollar) they pay their CEOs and CFOs.  We know these same corporations are ALSO extremely greedy by the percentage of their income they spend on direct resident care (e.g., the food served in a typical nursing home “meal” in the United States costs around 80 cents) and by the outrageously LOW salaries they pay nurses aides (the front line caregiver in a nursing home setting).

So clearly the big, bad for-profit nursing homes can outspend most of us nursing home activists. But fear not, because you do not have to spend an outrageous sum of money to be an effective activist!  We don’t have to have the kind of money the nursing home industry has to buy votes of crooked politicians (like Kentucky’s Julie Denton and Tom Burch) in order to influence public opinion. We can live within our modest financial means and still win the battle, in the classic style of David Vs. Goliath!

Here are just a few ways you can be frugal and effectively spread the message of Nursing Home Reform…

  • Self-publish your own bumperstickers. A few weeks ago I spent just $5.30 to print two nursing home reform-focused bumperstickers at a local Cafe Press retail store.  It took me about 5 minutes to typeset the stickers using a Cafe Press workstation and 20 minutes for the stickers to  be printed. My bumpersticker, which now adorns my minivan, is easily seen by several hundred individuals over the course of an average week.  The sticker (see artwork below) looks as if it was professionally produced and cost me less than a value meal at a local fast food restaurant! (NOTE: At my local Cafe Press store, the minimum number of bumper stickers you can print is two and they must be identical. One sticker for you and another for a friend, neighbor or stranger! If you don’t have a Cafe Press retail store near you, contact me and I’ll design your stickers at NO charg. I’ll donate the labor to create them and postage to send them to you, while you pay for the actual printing.)

  • Self-publish a magnetic sign for your vehicle. Go to your nearest Kinko’s or other sign store and talk to them about different options to produce affordable signage, including the ever-popular magnetic signs.  These signs are usually priced based on their size and producing one is fairly quick and affordable.  I’ve designed a magnetic sign to honor my mother’s memory while promoting nursing home reform that reads:

  • You have a right and a duty to inform your state and federal legislators about your support of nursing home reform! It doesn’t take any money, just an investment of your time, to contact your elected representatives. I urge you to pick up the phone and call your legislators, or go online and send them an e-mail message. Call your local library Reference Desk if you need to find their phone numbers and other contact information.
  • Not into calling or sending e-mail messages? Then for the cost of paper, printing and postage, write and mail letters to your state and federal representatives and senators. In less than 15 minutes you can write, print and mail a letter than can help advance the nursing home reform agenda.

I hope you will join me in refusing to be intimidated, let alone silenced, by the well-financed nursing home industry. Our side needs all the volunteer activists we can get! I take great comfort in knowing that those of us who promote reform have the truth on our side. The truth of our message easily trumps the propaganda spewed out of the mouths of the high paid professional lobbyist liars that represent the nursing home industry. Truth conquers lies every time.

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Nursing Home News Watch

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