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Michigan Reps. Kuppa and Ellison address Care at town hall

Event hosted by Michigan Caring Majority focuses on long-term care, care worker shortage crisis

Residents gathered in the cafeteria of Clawson High School Wednesday evening to discuss caring for their families with Michigan Representatives Padma Kuppa and Jim Ellison. They were joined by a number of advocates from Impart Alliance, the Area Agency on Aging 1B and Oakland University. The event was hosted by the Michigan Caring Majority which is working to bring caregiving infrastructure into the 21st century, so everyone can age and live with dignity.

"Michigan lags behind the rest of the country in helping vulnerable older adults and adults with disabilities to stay in their homes and communities rather than institutional settings; there are only five other states that invest a smaller percentage of their Medicaid Long Term Support Services (LTSS) dollars on home and community-based services,” said Katie Wendel of the Area Agency on Aging 1B. The Area Agency on Aging 1-B is committed to building supportive services that enable people to thrive in their homes and communities."

With people living longer than ever, more elders and people with disabilities are finding that they need long-term care. Too often, they find nursing homes and similar institutions to be expensive and isolating. Aging and living in one's own home and community is preferred by 90% of the population who need care would instead of in a facility. But this can be a challenge when the demand is too great for family members.

“A qualified direct care workforce is essential to organizations providing home-based long-term supports and services. A critical shortage of direct care workers threatens their ability to help people stay at home as long as possible,” said Clare Luz, Director of the Impart Alliance. “It is estimated that we will need 32 thousand more home care workers by next year. We are out of time and need to act immediately on known solutions to ensure access to care.”

In 2018, the Michigan Caring Majority passed the Long-Term Care Study (formerly HB 4674) in the state budget; the study will include a rigorous needs assessment of long-term care in Michigan and run an actuarial analysis of potential financing solutions. The study will provide a roadmap for our path forward regarding long-term care policy in Michigan. Starting in June, the study will also include an examination of Michigan’s care workforce and what is needed to achieve a well-trained workforce with enough personnel to meet home and community based care needs.

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