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Minnesota Leads the Nation for Long-Term Senior Care

By Daniel @ LivingSenior - October 1, 2011

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Since it was founded, the AARP has been on the frontline of providing information and resources to seniors on a wide range of topics important to them. The organization also conducts ongoing surveys that provide valuable insight on how the healthcare industry is managing assistance for seniors in need. Because of the aging senior population, local, state and federal agencies are looking for ways to lower healthcare costs while maintaining standards of quality. In a recent study, the AARP along with the Commonwealth Fund and the Scan Foundation found that Minnesota leads the nation in overall long-term care for seniors.

Setting the Bar High for Senior Care

For this study, the agencies examine 25 distinct measures in all areas of senior care including availability, choices and access to programs like assisted living, in-home and hospice care. The survey also looked into how much support state agencies offer to families in their new role as caregivers. All of this information was gathered on a state by state basis. The results in Minnesota show that with better preventative care and coordination costs can actually be reduced.

Minnesota scored among the highest based on the efficiency of interaction between government agencies and the care provides. Translation: Minnesota does a better job with offering financial options to seniors and their families who depend on long-term care. This is also helped by the simple fact that more folks in Minnesota have better financial resources and retirement plans in place than in the rest of the country.

Coordination is Key for Senior Care

A big issue for improvements in senior care is a simply matter of coordination among the various state wide agencies. When everyone is working together to provide the best care then things like repeated moving of seniors between nursing homes and hospitals can be greatly reduced. Quite often more families are relying on in-home care as a workable alternative to nursing home or assisted living.

Following the procedures that are working in states like Minnesota could help save the country up to $1.3 billion each year by simply avoiding unnecessary hospital stays. Although Minnesota currently ranks number one, that doesn't mean they have stopped working on ways to improve care.

"Even where we're good, there's room for improvement," said Michelle Kimball, state director of AARP Minnesota. Noting that only 6.6 percent of high-risk nursing home residents in Minnesota get pressure sores — lowest in the nation — Kimball added, "but that's 6.6 percent too much."

The Minnesota Department of Human Services will be seeking approval from the federal government to alter some of the state's long-term care options as a way of providing more flexibility for residents.

"We know we have to change the system," Colman said. "We have to move to the next generation of care — really, to continue on the path we've been on for some time, to make long-term care better and more cost-effective." This continuing focus on senior healthcare will be a benefit to all.

Learn more about state by state healthcare by visiting LivingSenior.com. There you'll find direct links too many local senior care facilities.

If you have any question about finding the right type of care for your loved one, post them here. We'll do our best to find the answers.