May 9, 2023

Workforce, access, affordability issues should be policymakers’ focus: Argentum 

McKnights Senior Living

NEW ORLEANS—Policymakers must address the emerging workforce crisis and pursue public policies to increase access to — and improve the affordability of — senior living options, Argentum President and CEO James Balda said Tuesday.

As the senior living industry continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, Argentum is sharpening the legislative priorities included in its strategic plan related to workforce development, senior living access and affordability, and the value that senior living offers.

To support advocacy efforts, the association released a new white paper Tuesday — “Caring for our Aging Nation: Policy Solutions to Increase Access to Assisted Living” — that Balda said underscores the challenge ahead of meeting the care needs of millions of Americans as they age, how senior living is prepared to meet those needs, and the policy changes necessary to make that happen.

According to Argentum, the number of Americans needing long-term care will more than double by 2050 to 27 million. The Department of Health & Human Services estimates that 70% of older adults will need some form of long-term care in their lifetime, 50% will need more extensive care and 20% will need it for five years or more.

Most Americans, however, are not financially prepared for their long-term care needs, according to the white paper. The National Conference on Aging reported that up to 80% of older adults (47 million) have modest assets in reserve and would be unable to afford four years in assisted living. Additionally, the Federal Reserve reported that one in four Americans have no retirement savings.

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