Ethel Paley, Champion of Nursing Home Patients, Dies at 99


Ethel Paley, a social employee who for 35 years was at the forefront of serving to nursing residence sufferers and their households navigate the labyrinthine well being care system, redress hidden abuses in therapy and foyer for systemic options, died on Nov. 18 at her residence in Manhattan. She was 99.

Her dying was confirmed by her daughter Eliza Paley.

From the group’s inception at the peak of the scandals over nursing residence care in New York in 1976 till it went broke in 2011 after the recession, Ms. Paley devoted her profession to Friends and Relatives of the Institutionalized Aged, a nonprofit group of which she was the founding government director.

Even after she stepped down from that put up in 1979, she continued to serve the company and her aged friends for many years, properly into her personal superior age, variously as president, board member, paid workers member and volunteer.

“Even though it was descriptive, our full name still reeked of a ‘social work’ look at the world,” Ms. Paley recalled in 2011, “so we finally dropped it and simply use Fria as an alternative.”

The group grew to become a clearinghouse for the newest info on the rights of sufferers, the providers to which they have been entitled and the complaints that had been lodged in opposition to particular person nursing houses in New York City.

Fria operated a phone assist line in English and Spanish to reply questions from nursing residence residents, their buddies and family members and to information them to different assets for help. Social work college students have been recruited to workers the road. They fielded usually frantic calls about arbitrary and involuntary discharges and transfers from nursing houses and allegations of abuse, neglect, retaliation and racial, ethnic and non secular discrimination.

Ms. Paley and others sought to marshal even more support for nursing home residents by organizing a network of groups whose agenda include geriatric health issues. That effort led to the formation of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving quality of care and quality of life for people in nursing homes, assisted living and other residential settings.

Ethel Louise Schneider was born on Oct. 8, 1920, in Manhattan to Herman and Ida (Fahrni) Schneider. Her father was a restaurateur, her mother a homemaker.

The family moved from Flushing, Queens, during the Depression to Willimantic, Conn. After graduating from high school there, she joined the Waves, the women’s branch of the Naval Reserve, in 1943 and served in Washington.

After World War II, she was admitted to Barnard College under the G.I. Bill and completed her bachelor’s degree in economics and American history in 1949. She later received a master’s in social work, focusing on community organizing, from Columbia University.

After graduating from Barnard, Ms. Paley worked for the New York City Housing Authority and directed the career office at the college, where she developed a program to help female graduates manage professional and family goals.

By the mid-1970s, she said, “I went for an interview at an organization that didn’t yet have a name, just a mission and a strong will to see it through.” It was the Friends and Relatives of the Institutionalized Aged, and she was hired as the first director.

Ms. Paley was president of the Women’s City Club of New York (now Women Creating Change) from 1989 to 1990. She received the L’Oreal Women of Worth Award in 2010 and was inducted into the Columbia School of Social Work Hall of Fame in 2014.



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