The Minnesota Board on Aging will advocate for inclusive health, social, and economic systems that treat people equitably and create conditions in which all people have an opportunity to achieve optimal health and well-being. The Minnesota Board on Aging will work with its partners to raise awareness of, and address, the demographic, economic, environmental, and health disparities that impede creation and operation of these systems.
By 2030 the number of Minnesotans over age 65 will increase—from nearly 900,000 to 1.3 million. This significant projected demographic shift will impact Minnesota’s long-term services and supports landscape in ways the state has never experienced. As more people age, rates of chronic illness and disability, including rates of Alzheimer’s disease, will rise. A corresponding increase in the number of older adults and their family members needing to access and to make decisions about long-term services and supports will occur. With the current emphasis on maintaining the independence of older adults in their own home, the numbers of vulnerable people living in the community will increase. Personal financial independence and accountability will continue to be shifted to the individual and family, even as access to funded pensions, long-term care insurance and social programs diminishes.
While Minnesota has already taken a number of steps to manage and prepare for these changing demographics, pressures on the state’s budget will persist. We must continue to find ways to reform our system and to prepare communities and the state as a whole in order to meet the challenges and opportunities to invest in our aging population. The Minnesota Board on Aging (MBA) and its partner organizations work together to support communities in efforts to become more livable for people of all ages, improve the quality of long-term services and supports, help individuals make decisions, protect vulnerable people, and build mechanisms for ongoing sustainability.
PRIORITY AREAS FOR LEGISLATIVE ATTENTION IN 2020:
• Home and Community-Based Services: Options and Information. The MBA supports the preservation and development of critical home and community-based service options across the state, as well as a strong system for providing long-term care options counseling to help older adults and their families make educated decisions about long-term services and support needs, helping them remain in the community.
• Education and Support for Vulnerable Adults. The MBA supports enhanced efforts to educate and empower consumers and to advocate for their needs and prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
• Supporting Caregivers and the Long-Term Services and Supports Workforce. The MBA supports efforts to increase caregiver education, counseling and respite services, support working caregivers, in addition to supporting creative solutions to increase the long-term services and supports workforce needed to assist our aging population.
• Preparing Minnesota for Aging into the Future. The MBA supports work toward improving Minnesota’s system of supports for older Minnesotans with complex needs to ensure older Minnesotans have the information, resources, and services available to meet their diverse health needs.
• Supporting Individuals to Take Action on Long-Term Services and Supports. The MBA supports efforts that will encourage and enable Minnesotans to take action to meet their long-term services and support needs.
• Supporting Affordable Housing Solutions for Older Adults. The MBA will partner with the MN Housing Finance Agency to supports efforts that will develop and maintain affordable older adult and multi-generational housing, allow flexibility in the use of home modification funding, as well as activities to end homelessness among older adults.
• Supporting Efforts to Make Telecommunications and Broadband a Reality for All. The MBA supports the ongoing efforts to blanket the state with broadband communication capabilities to ensure future telecommunication and technology are available to all Minnesotans.
• Supporting Transportation Development. The MBA supports transportation development for sustaining and expanding current and future modes and models of transportation. This includes addressing unique transportation issues disproportionately impacting rural communities more intensely than metropolitan areas of the state.
The mission of the Minnesota Board on Aging is to ensure that older Minnesotans and their families are effectively served by state and local policies and programs. The MBA works with seven Area Agencies on Aging throughout the state to deliver services that help residents to age well and live well in their communities. This partnership helps ensure local input and accountability for service funding and promotes local innovation for problem-solving.
The MBA is designated as the State Unit on Aging for Minnesota for the purposes of administering federal Older Americans Act funds. Its 25 board members are appointed by the governor and represent diverse backgrounds, ages, interests and communities across the state.
HELPING OLDER ADULTS HELP THEMSELVES
The majority of today’s seniors want to stay in their own homes. The MBA provides support to make this a reality by connecting citizens to local services, including home and community-based services, Older Americans Act services and long term care options counseling, as well as the protection of a long-term care ombudsman.
These programs use nationally recognized, evidence-based models that have demonstrated budget savings by delaying more costly care. This has helped to manage increasing state deficits by seeking low-cost ways to prevent many elderly citizens from falling into the public safety net.
RESOURCES TO HELP MINNESOTANS AGE WELL AND LIVE WELL
Minnesotans will live longer than their ancestors. The reality of increased longevity requires a change to the way we consider and develop long-term services and supports. As the legislature works through long-term services and support policy, the MBA stands ready to provide unbiased research, insight and program information on aging issues.
The MBA and its Area Agencies on Aging are working to assist Minnesota as it accommodates the opportunity presented and potential expense of these older citizens, helping them live well throughout their extended lifetime.
The Roles of the MBA include:
• Contracting for services (meals, transportation, in-home supports) to assist older adults and their family caregivers throughout the state.
• Providing advocacy, education and empowerment to adults receiving long-term care services through the Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care 1-800-657-3591.
• Providing long-term care options counseling so assist older adults can make informed decisions through the Senior LinkAge Line 1-800-333-2433 and www.MinnesotaHelp.info.
• Supporting policy makers with objective research on current trends and evidence-based programs.
• Providing objective research about geriatric care and the aging population.