Judah Ronch, Erickson School, in the New York Times

Judah Ronch, Dean of UMBC’s Erickson School, offers a pointed letter in today’s New York Times, responding to a report that some retirement communities are segregating their dining facilities based on residents’ required levels of care, sometimes splitting up married couple during meals.

In “It’s About More Than Food,” Ronch writes that although “different regulatory considerations might play into the dining decisions at differing levels of care in a continuing care retirement community…[w]hat’s important is the fact that dining is deeply tied to pleasure, identity and sense of community, and therefore the service being provided is not simply to deliver food. To make a point of segregating people because of their physical or mental condition is to threaten their sense of dignity and identity as a valued member of a community.”