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Care for the Aging

Section 5150 is in the California Welfare and Institutions Code, not the Penal Code, as indicated in March of the Mutt-Mitted Zombies. It is part of the landmark Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS) that governs involuntary detention and LPS conservatorships for the mentally ill. The act imperfectly attempts to both mandate their treatment and protect their rights.

At this time of year we are reminded of the incredible generosity of our community and the good deeds of our local heroes. It is unfortunate that our community has been unable to channel enough of that generosity and effort into providing local facilities, aside from the jail, for those in need of mental health intervention. Too often the elderly and demented — whose only problem is their inability to take care of themselves — are sent down to Vista del Mar, or further.

The Santa Barbara community has not had a geriatric psychiatric health facility since the closure of St. Francis Hospital. Next year’s Local Heroes could be the people who do something about that.

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