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June 30, 1975

The Forgotten Remnant: The Elderly in Need

Author Affiliations

Memorial Hospital of DuPage County Elmhurst, III

JAMA. 1975;232(13):1328-1329. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250130012004

To the Editor.—  A vast number of forgotten aged persons with combined medical and sociological problems are in dire need of protective services. When an older person has no cooperative relatives and his friends have disappeared, there is a need for various protective alternatives.So far, society's major response has been to provide for such elderly people to stay in public municipal, county, and state mental hospitals. This type of protective service is inadequate for two reasons: (1) Many older people who need some degree of protection would not benefit from being involuntarily hospitalized. (2) Some authoritative legal intervention such as commitment laws are based on the assumption that some member of the family will initiate the process.Provision should be made for authorized governmental involuntary agencies and institutions, preferably in the area of family welfare or social service, to help older persons requiring protective services. This should include authority