Minnesota ranks second, behind Washington state, in a new AARP report assessing the types and quality of services aimed at assisting older adults who can’t manage on their own.
However, the report issued Wednesday sounds an alarm that even the top states need to step up the pace in addressing problems.
As an unprecedented elder boom approaches, “the pace of change overall remains too slow and has not kept up with demographic demands,” it said.
The report found that the nation remains woefully unprepared to handle the coming elder boom, when more Americans will need help doing basic activities such as bathing, cooking or managing medications.
In 2026, the leading edge of the massive baby boom generation will turn 80, when people are six times more likely to be institutionalized or need help with daily living because of physical, cognitive or chronic health conditions.
This is the third report AARP has issued on the topic, offering a benchmark for improvement, the organization said. The reports, which come out every three years, rank states’ long-term care services and support programs in such areas as affordability, access, types of settings, quality of life, quality of care and support for family caregivers.
Minnesota ranked first in the previous two scorecards.
This year, Minnesota led the nation in “choice of setting and provider,” notably on the state’s work helping low-income Minnesotans covered by Medicaid to receive services at their homes rather than in an institution. But it was 19th in “effective transitions,” which measured the percent of people who return to the community after long stays at a nursing home.
States such as Minnesota that have consistently ranked high among their peers “have strategically planned for their aging population across health, housing, transportation and family caregiving,” said Dr. Bruce Chernof, CEO of the SCAN Foundation, which also provided funding along with the Commonwealth Fund.
“We are looking to craft the kind of future we want as we grow older,” said Kari Benson, director of Minnesota’s Aging and Adult Services division at the state Department of Human Services. “We’re building on a long history of efforts in multiple areas to make improvements and strengthen our system so that people can live at home, have choices and live meaningful lives even as they need help around the house or with their personal care.”
The full report can be found at longtermscorecard.org.