Editorial: Keep long-term care needs in mindThe Minnesota Legislature needs to be sure to consider demographics as it prepares to balance the state budget by — hopefully — the scheduled adjournment date of May 23.
By: Daily Globe, Worthington Daily Globe
The Minnesota Legislature needs to be sure to consider demographics as it prepares to balance the state budget by — hopefully — the scheduled adjournment date of May 23.
Minnesota’s population of residents aged 65 and older will increase by 40 years between 2010 and 2020, according to “Status of Long-Term Care in 2010,” prepared by the state demographer’s office. The younger-than-65 population, during the same period, will grow at only a 4-percent clip.
The Long-Term Care Imperative, which lobbies for changes in health care services for older adults, cites this “age wave” as a primary reason for not cutting state funding for such programs. There are already several difficult scenarios that already exist and would worsen should any new cuts take place.
For instance, a survey prepared for Long-Term Care Imperative by LarsonAllen LLP indicates that approximately 63 nursing homes in Minnesota are facing financial crisis (with an operating margin of -5 percent of worse). This represents two things. More than 8,850 jobs are at risk, and care for families’ loved ones faces the possibility of shifts that would mean both increases in costs and traveling distance to out-of-region facilities.
In the past 10 years, in fact, there have been 59 nursing home closures, a decrease of 24 percent. It is fair to say we are headed toward a crisis in the next 10 years, and beyond, if these trends aren’t reversed. Our legislators and governor would be well-advised to keep this in mind.