To the Editor:

''Too Much, Too Soon Halts Assisted-Living Boom'' (May 28) was on target in describing the problems and promise of alternative care for the aging.

On the one hand, as an elder-care specialist, I am pleased with the competitive number of assisted-living facilities now available in areas like New York with large and growing populations of older adults. The wide choice encourages better quality and competitive rates. Older adults should profit from the combination.

But the gold rush to build facilities for profit, instead of providing good services and staff to meet the needs of the elderly, has always been a concern. Companies that did not anticipate the changing physical and medical needs of an older population may have been too naive in entering the marketplace.

A shakeout is needed to better serve this population. Assisted living can be a safe, appropriate and affordable alternative to home care or placement in a skilled nursing facility.


New York City, May 28

The writer is a social worker specializing in geriatric care