Seniors deserve quality care

Published 8:49 am Thursday, January 26, 2012


I am writing to you today to discuss my current concerns with the legislation in Minnesota and the direction we are taking as a whole in terms of senior care. Many seniors are constantly struggling with their finances and due to the lack of funding and constant cuts to the long-term-care market. Many nursing homes and resources for our seniors are struggling as well. We have many responsibilities to our elders as they have paved our paths for us, but we need to also prepare for the future and pave the ways of our youth as those have done before us. We need Minnesota legislation to realize that senior care is an economic engine in Minnesota and is about much more than just nursing homes!

In terms of preparing for the future, Minnesotans are not prepared to pay for the care they need — there is an impending economic crisis as our population ages. A prolonged economic crisis and collapse of the stock market and real estate market have wiped out the nest eggs of everyday Minnesotans, leaving many without adequate savings to pay for their care needs. The state has an obligation to ensure that personal finances are not a barrier to accessing necessary care to age with dignity. Our seniors can’t afford to wait any longer — they need improved access to quality care today.

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As far as being an economic engine, long-term care provides so many valuable jobs and economic development on a daily basis. The state’s long-term care sector supports more than 112,000 Minnesota jobs! These jobs are especially valued in rural Minnesota communities, like New Richland, where the local nursing home or assisted living is often the largest employer in the community. The total economic impact of long-term care is $6.7 billion annually — much of which is returned into the economy in the form of wages that are spent in our local communities.

By investing in senior care and support in Minnesota, we can improve the quality of care for seniors and boost our economy — one community at a time. The future of senior care in Minnesota is about finding the right solution for each individual, at the right time and in the right setting. No longer are nursing homes the primary resource for seniors in need of care. Instead, nursing homes today are reserved for those with the most challenging care needs, while the needs of most seniors are managed more efficiently and cost-effectively in their own homes or in local assisted-living establishments.

Lawmakers need to recognize the cost savings of home and community-based services and budget accordingly, while also maintaining nursing homes as a key source of care for those who need them. This means putting an end to the funding cuts for our Minnesota nursing homes as the level of care needed in our homes is much higher then ever before. Higher level of care needed means higher cost to provide that care. We need to help our seniors get the care they deserve.


Mikenzi Hebel


New Richland Care Center

New Richland