Association praises Sens. Tester, Moran, Murray for introducing the Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act amid push for more senior living options.
(Alexandria, Va.) – Argentum offered its strong support for the Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act, calling the “common sense” legislation a critical start to helping veterans access cost-effective assisted living care as the nation prepares for rapidly growing demand for assisted living and other long-term care options.
Argentum, the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, American Seniors Housing Association, and LeadingAge are working in conjunction to promote the veterans bill, with the coalition signing a joint letter of support to Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.). The three lawmakers introduced the legislation last week.
“We strongly support establishing a pilot program as this legislation provides to help demonstrate the value of assisted living, so that more Americans can access this vital care. As our nation prepares for an exponential rise in the need for care services—with 10,000 Americans turning age 70 every day—we need to expand opportunities for our nation’s seniors to access their care,” said Maggie Elehwany, senior vice president, public affairs, Argentum.
Argentum members operate senior living communities that include independent living, assisted living, memory care, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), which are home to 2 million vulnerable seniors, of which 42% are veterans or their spouses.
Senior living is an integral part of the long-term care continuum, offering round-the-clock care for our nation’s most vulnerable seniors—from eating and bathing, to walking and taking medications. It is also a highly cost-effective care solution, averaging $4,300 per month compared to more than $8,800 per month for skilled nursing or $4,500 per month for a home health aide to provide limited services.
The problem is that many veterans cannot access assisted living because of restrictions by the Department of Veterans Affairs prohibiting funds from going toward room and board fees at assisted living facilities.
“For too long, many of our low-income veterans who participate in federal assistance programs have had to pay for their room and board costs at assisted living communities where they wish to live. These veterans who have served our country must have the opportunity to live independently and yet receive the 24/7 care they require in a dignified manner,” Elehwany said.
Consumer choice when it comes to senior living is one of Argentum’s three pillars in a strategic plan unveiled at the association’s annual conference last month. There, Argentum President and Chief Executive Officer James Balda presented a new vision for moving senior living communities forward, focusing on People (the importance of residents and the workforce), Trust (how data, transparency, and best practices affect public and political perceptions), and Choice (the senior living options available to people from every background and economic sphere).
“One of the primary reasons this industry was created and has flourished as an alternative to institutional care over 25 years ago was a vision that individuals should and could be able to age in place with their needs are met in a setting that is social, residential and full of life,” Balda said during the May conference.
Argentum is the leading national association exclusively dedicated to supporting companies operating professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities and the older adults and families they serve. Since 1990, Argentum has advocated for choice, independence, dignity, and quality of life for all older adults.
Argentum member companies operate senior living communities offering assisted living, independent living, continuing care, and memory care services. Along with its state partners, Argentum’s membership represents approximately 75 percent of the senior living industry—an industry with a national economic impact of nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars and responsible for providing over 1.6 million jobs. For more information, visit www.argentum.org.
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