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Yukon senior advocate Elma Holder to speak at Canadian County Democrats’ October 12 meeting

posted Oct 5, 2015, 10:37 PM by Jody Harlan   [ updated May 31, 2016, 10:11 PM ]
YUKON, Okla. – Elma Holder, nursing home reform advocate and Heinz Awards’ Chairman Medal winner, will speak from 7-8:30 p.m. on Monday, October 12, at the Canadian County Democrats’ monthly meeting.

Seating is available on a first come, first served basis at the Yukon Police Department located at 100 S. Ranchwood Boulevard. There is no charge to attend.

Holder was chosen by AARP in 2013 as one of “10 Champions of Aging.”

Currently, she is working on her second book about the history of nursing home reform.

She was chosen this summer as one of 200 nationwide delegates to the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. 

On October 12, Holder will share information about how the National Nursing Home Reform Law was achieved. The law is part of the Social Security Act and the Affordable Health Care Act. 

She will address the aspects of the law that promote high quality care for citizens who live in nursing homes. She will also describe how the law addresses issues of neglect and abuse. Holder will share information about how local communities can help in efforts to monitor nursing home care and help assure that residents receive the protections and rights which the law promises.

She will also provide information about her attendance at the recent White House Conference on Aging and current priorities in programs and public policy for elders.

Beginning in the 1970s, Holder dedicated her career to protecting older nursing home residents from neglect and abuse.

As the cofounder of National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform in 1975, she focused on improving living conditions and increasing oversight of long-term care facilities. The group was composed at one time of more than 300 member groups throughout the U.S.

Two years after helping establish NCCNHR, she co-authored Nursing Homes: A Citizens' Action Guide...How to Organize, Plan and Achieve Nursing Home, a book that was the basis of a public policy reform movement.

A year later, Holder became NCCNHR's executive director.

Holder’s work was a major contributor to the passage of the landmark Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987, which developed the framework and direction for quality care in nursing homes. She then focused on making sure the law was aggressively enforced.
She graduated with a master’s degree in public health form the University of Oklahoma.

After starting work as a geriatric consultant for the Medicare survey and chronic disease division of the Oklahoma State Health Department in the late 1960s, Holder relocated to Washington, D.C. to work as a health consultant for the National Council on Aging.

For 30 years she stayed in the nation's capital focused on her advocacy work, for Ralph Nader's Retired Professional Action Group and coordinator of the Long-Term Care Task Force of the Gray Panthers.
By 1999, Holder had received an award from the National Institute of Medicine “for bringing the needs of an unserved, often neglected and abused nursing home population to high national awareness.”

In 2006, the Heinz Foundation presented Holder with the Chairman’s Medal for outstanding leadership in her field of work.

She retired in 2002 to care for her own elderly mother in Yukon.

The Canadian County Democrats regularly meet at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month, except December, at the Yukon Police Department. For more information, phone 405-354-3189 or email