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Lillian Hyatt

Lillian Hyatt

– In Memory –

CANHR is sad to announce the death of Lillian Hyatt, a CANHR Advocate correspondent for CCRC issues for many years and an AARP Public Policy specialist on CCRC issues.

Professor Hyatt was an articulate and passionate advocate for the rights of Continuing Care Retirement Community residents. In addition to writing columns about CCRCs and resident rights for CANHR and for the newsletter of the National Association of Social Workers-California Chapter, Ms. Hyatt was also the plaintiff in a groundbreaking lawsuit that challenged the discriminatory practices at the Sequoias, the CCRC where she lived.

The Sequoias provided meals for residents in a dining room that on one side had full-service wait staff, a fixed menu, and a dress code, and on the other side a buffet service that allows a more casual option with greater flexibility in food choices. However, because The Sequoias had required walkers be checked with a waiter and stored in a closet during the meal for both sides of the dining area, the buffet side was effectively foreclosed to those with mobility impairments.

Ms. Hyatt, who could select food from the buffet and carry her tray back to her table using her walker without assistance from others, asked to change this policy. After trying to settle the case informally, she received only a small concession allowing her to approach the buffet during a narrow window of time, inconvenient to her, inappropriate to her needs and subject to The Sequoias' scheduling or change of heart, and she sued. Hyatt v. Northern California Presbyterian Homes argued that the Sequoias' policy violates her rights under the FHA, ADA, and counterpart California state laws. She was represented by attorneys with AARP Foundation Litigation and with Disability Rights California. The dispute was settled prior to consideration by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit but changed the discriminatory practices for all CCRC residents.

Lillian, or “Professor Hyatt,” as she was known to all, can be seen on Youtube on the USC School of Social Work Channel at:

Her columns on CCRCs for the CANHR Advocate can be read at:

Goodbye Lillian. All of us at CANHR will miss you.