The Landscape of Senior Services: Today's Challenges
Mar. 20, 2023
By Danielle Andersen
How Knute Nelson is advocating for caregiving staff and residents
Transformation is all around us, including in the long-term care industry. Over the last several years much has evolved and challenged our operating environment. COVID, tight labor markets, legislative support, use of technology, and inflation among other factors have all fostered a difficult operating environment.
At the same time, throughout the United States, the aging population is growing. By 2025, the first Baby Boomers will turn 80. In 2030, all Baby Boomers will be 65 years and older. Senior services providers must be prepared to care for those who will require care now and into the future.*
Unlike our growth in the aging population demographics, our workforce availability is declining. Historically low unemployment locally and statewide poses challenges for nearly all industries, including the long-term care industry.
As a result, this leaves many older adults at risk of not receiving the care they need—and deserve—close to home. Staff shortages are causing seniors to lose access to care, with over 75% of nursing homes and 30% of assisted living settings limiting admissions.+
Senior care and the state
The State of Minnesota plays a major role in funding senior care. Daily care rates are controlled by the State, and our ability to pay the family-sustaining wages needed to build a caregiving workforce is tied directly to State funding allocations.+
In nursing homes, the State sets the rates for those who receive care. In assisted living, low-income seniors use Medicaid dollars through a state-regulated program called Elderly Waiver. In both cases, the rates provided by the state no longer cover the cost of care for aging services.
On Monday, March 13, a group of Knute Nelson employees made their way to the Capitol to advocate for caregiving staff and residents as a part of LeadingAge Minnesota's advocacy day. They spoke to legislators about the critical issues facing our industry and asked for support to make seniors and their caregivers a priority during this legislative session.
How is senior care funded?
The funding of senior services, and given Knute Nelson’s vast array of services, is highly complex. Each operating division has a number of payer sources depending on the licensure requirements for facilities and/or home and community-based services outlined by local, state, and federal guidelines.
*Sources: +LeadingAge MN, *Ziegler