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As the leading national non-profit organization representing senior living communities, Argentum supports public policy efforts to increase access and affordability of senior living and to address the workforce challenges facing communities.

Senior living—comprised of assisted living, memory care, independent living, and continuing care communities—is a cost-effective long-term care (LTC) model, providing 24-hour care to nearly two million older Americans. Senior living communities are not nursing homes. Senior living is a home and community-based option for seniors who no longer choose to live alone and require assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, eating, toileting, as well as personal and health care services. The residents who live in senior living communities average 85 years of age, with the majority having chronic health conditions.

Assisted living offers lower costs, improved quality of life, better health outcomes, and reduced health care costs. More than 90 percent of seniors in assisted living communities reported “good or great satisfaction” with their community. Additionally, 96 percent reported their communities provided sufficient health care and access to care, nearly 75 percent said assisted living improved their quality of life, and 70 percent indicated their health outlook improved as result of the care they receive. If assisted living were not an option, as many as 61% of senior residents may be forced into far-costlier skilled nursing facilities at a cost of $43.4 billion. This additional cost would cripple state and federal Medicaid budgets.

THE CHALLENGE: Our nation is rapidly aging and is unprepared to meet rising care needs.

The United States is on the precipice of a seismic shift that will transform our population from an aging population to an aged population. Today, 17 percent of Americans—or 55.7 million people—are 65 and older, By 2040, 22 percent—or 80.8 million Americans—are projected to be 65 and older, more than twice as many as in 2000. The most rapidly aging segment of the population are seniors aged 85 and older, and it is these individuals who will need the greatest and most direct care.

Very few Americans are adequately prepared for their LTC costs. Many incorrectly believe that Medicare, Medicaid, or their private health insurance will cover these costs. And only 7.5 million Americans have any form of long-term care insurance (LTCI), with many policies too expensive and complex. That leaves far too many people covering the cost of care themselves, eventually depleting their savings and retirement assets to qualify for Medicaid.

As the need for senior care continues its dramatic growth, the current and future workforce is simply not keeping pace. The senior living industry lost more than 100,000 positions in the first 20 months of the pandemic. LTC workforce shortages eclipse all other health care shortages, with an estimated 20.2 million workers needed by 2040. Assisted living and memory care communities face the most acute workforce needs across the entire LTC continuum. Policymakers at all levels of government should pursue policies to address the senior care crisis and find cost-effective solutions to meet the challenges of our rapidly aging population.

THE SOLUTION: Argentum’s public policy priorities include:

  • Workforce Development: Argentum supports increasing investments in workforce development including existing federal recruitment, training, and retainment programs, and engaging foreign-born workers.
  • Access and Affordability: Argentum supports increasing access and affordability of assisted living so more Americans can plan and meet their caregiving needs.

Argentum Supported Legislation:

  • H.R. 1815 / S. 495 | Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act
    Bipartisan legislation to create a three-year pilot program for eligible veterans to receive assisted living care paid for by the VA. Current limitations on paying for assisted living room and board fees means many low-income veterans who participate in federal assistance programs have to pay for almost all assisted living costs out of pocket. This legislation would help more veterans be able to access essential care and support through assisted living facilities, and provide an important alternative to nursing home care. A study by the VA finds that this could save $69,101 per assisted living placement per year.
See Argentum's Federal Leave Behind


Addressing Infrastructure Needs for Long-Term Care: We are working to ensure that our nation has the foundational elements needed to care for its rapidly aging population.

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