Lillian L. Hyatt

Role model for elder care advocacy

Lillian L. Hyatt is a sterling example of empowerment of others leading to self-empowerment. Throughout her career and to this day, she has inspired people to make a difference in their lives by her work and advocacy in the areas of substance abuse impact on families, interfaith understanding, nursing home standards and elder care.

Before Lillian Hyatt started her professional life as a social worker, she was involved in a movement to promote religious and cultural understanding. As the wife and aide de camp of the President of the National conference of Christians and Jews and the International Council of Christians and Jews, for over sixteen years she traveled throughout the U.S. and around the globe promoting religious dialogue and tolerance.

At the age of 57 Hyatt started her graduate social work studies and then became an Adjunct Professor of Social Work at San Francisco State University (SFSU). She was an innovator, initiating a ground breaking program to research and teach students and professionals about the impact on families of drug and alcoholic abuse, and acted as the program’s first director. In 1983 she received her MSW from California State University, San Francisco.

In retirement, Professor Hyatt has remained active. She founded the Coalition for Interfaith Understanding, served on request of the President of SFSU on a 2002 Task Force on Inter-Campus Relations, and researched a book on the religious underground in the former Soviet Union. Her career as a social worker took a new turn when she entered a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) and she became an advocate for herself and other residents concerning unfair practices, joined and became active in a statewide association of CCRC residents, and started an independent organization of residents in the CCRC where she lives. She continues to write for the CCRC Corner quarterly newsletter which she has done for the last three years.

In recognition of her expertise, Professor Hyatt has been named as AARP’s policy consultant on Continuing Care Retirement Communities in California where she currently resides.

Lillian L. Hyatt is indeed a social worker for all seasons. Her lifetime of service, insightful books and publications, and her continuing commitment to the values and principles of social work is a role model for our time. She has always seized every opportunity to identify urgent needs to make conditions better for those less able to speak out for themselves. In her own words, “Don’t be part of the problem, you can be part of the solution if you want to be.”

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