Minnesota was honored today for supporting people who care for older adults, as part of the state’s exemplary long-term services and supports system.
Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper accepted The SCAN Foundation’s Pacesetter Prize
at a morning breakfast attended by key stakeholders in the state’s long-term services and supports system for older adults.
“The Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Board on Aging are honored to accept this award on behalf of everyone in our state who contributes to quality of life for older adults,” Piper said. “Our thanks go especially to family members and friends who provide the majority of all care needed by older Minnesotans, which is not only important for the people receiving care, but also for our state budget – saving Minnesota alone an estimated at $7.9 billion per year. That is more than Minnesota’s annual Medicaid costs for nursing homes and other long-term services and supports.”
The SCAN Foundation, the event sponsor, recognized Minnesota for providing such services as coaching to help people care for those with dementia; consultation, information and assistance through the Senior LinkAge Line, a service of the Minnesota Board on Aging; and services that give caregivers a respite.
“We are pleased this award recognizes our achievements, including the Senior LinkAge Line as a key resource for older adults and people who care for them,” said Kari Benson, executive director of the Minnesota Board on Aging. “For 23 years, Senior LinkAge Line, at 1-800-333-2433, has been helping Minnesotans figure out how to maintain independence, pick the right Medicare drug coverage, and get the help they need to live well at home.”
The SCAN Foundation also highlighted other related Minnesota successes:
- Passage of the CARE (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable) Act, requiring health care facilities to notify family members when an older adult is being discharged and instruct them on how to provide the best care;
- Expanded employee sick leave benefits for absences due to caring for a relative, including a parent or sibling;
- The Working Caregiver Initiative, which educates employers about caregiving issues and promotes workplace flexibility and sharing of caregiver resources with employees; and
- Allowing Advanced Practice nurses to work at the top of their education and training and delegate tasks, which increases families’ access to affordable care.
“Minnesota’s commitment to expanding innovative programs that support family caregivers and allow its residents to live more independently has made it a pacesetter,” said Bruce Chernof, MD, President and CEO of The SCAN Foundation. “These actions are fundamental for states to prepare, particularly for the growing population of older Americans, and we commend Minnesota for leading the way.”
Minnesota is also noted for expanding the Return to Community initiative, which helps people in nursing homes or hospitals or who may be candidates for nursing home placements to return to their homes with needed supports. Under 2017 legislation, Return to Community will provide a stipend to people who are caregiving to pay for respite or other needed help.
In its third-ever Long-term Services and Supports State Scorecard
(2017), AARP ranked Minnesota second after ranking it first in 2011 and 2014. Washington State, which ranked second those years, took the number one spot this year. AARP cited both states as “consistently leading the pack” of states for long-term services and supports.
Piper said Minnesota’s leadership in long-term services and supports for older adults has grown from:
- Building a strong information and assistance network;
- Helping older adults when their needs are lower and before they need more extensive and expensive support;
- Helping people return home from facilities when they can and want to;
- Measuring and reporting quality in nursing homes and of home and community-based services;
- Rewarding providers for quality improvements and innovations; and
- Strengthening protection of vulnerable adults through such services as the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center, which is available to take reports 24/7 at 844-880-1574.
The SCAN Foundation, based in Long Beach, California, is an independent public charity devoted to transforming care for older adults in ways that preserve dignity and encourage independence.