January 26, 2024

Assisted living provides value, satisfaction in long-term care continuum, industry advocates say

McKnights Senior Living

The assisted living industry is fighting back against growing scrutiny over staffing challenges and what consumer groups and the lay media say is a cost structure that prices many older adults out of services by citing high resident and family satisfaction rates and an overall value to the healthcare continuum.

In response to Thursday’s US Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing focusing on safety, staffing and pricing in the assisted living sector, associations representing operators submitted comments highlighting the industry’s role in caring for a growing aging population.

“Selecting an assisted living community is a very personal decision, and most often older adults or their loved ones are looking for care in their hometown. Additionally, the reason residents and families love assisted living is because each community is unique, adapting to the needs and wants of their local communities,” National Center for Assisted Living Executive Director LaShuan Bethea told McKnight’s Senior Living. “Today’s hearing demonstrated the very important need to continue to educate policymakers, families and the public about the diversity within the assisted living profession, as well as the benefits to state-based regulation in promoting person-centered care and innovation.”

LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan said in a statement that the hearing and recent national news coverage that preceded it “underscore the urgent need for our policymakers to address the shortcomings of our country’s current approach to financing long-term care.”

All of the national industry associations agreed that keeping assisted living regulation at the state level would be more effective than federal oversight.

“This regulatory framework encourages states to innovate and explore ways to provide cost-effective long-term care at a much more local level than could ever be replicated by one-size-fits-all federal regulations,” Argentum President and CEO James Balda wrote in his comments to the committee. 

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