Legislation typed on white paper by a typewriter

As the nation’s population of older adults increases the demand for senior living and other forms of long-term care, states are stepping up to provide solutions and resources to address some hot topic areas, including dementia care, workforce shortages and the expansion of assisted living.

Expanding assisted living services

In Connecticut, proposed legislation aims to evaluate the potential expansion of state-funded assisted living services. 

SB 316 would require a comprehensive study on the costs and benefits associated with broadening the scope and services provided under the Connecticut Homecare Program for Elders. The study would examine expanding services for those who qualify for the state program but do not qualify for Medicaid.

In testimony about the bill, Connecticut Assisted Living Association President Christopher Carter said that the group supported the bill, adding that the four state programs that apply subsidies to assisted living settings have been successful in fostering autonomy and dignity in choice. He also said that subsidized assisted living settings save “significant tax dollars” compared with more costly institutional settings such as nursing homes. 

Similarly, LeadingAge Connecticut President Mag Morelli testified that her organization welcomes an exploration of the expansion of the state-funded assisted living programs. 

Removing barriers to workforce entry

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, lawmakers are working on advancing two long-term care workforce bills to update training procedures and remove employment barriers.

SB 1104 would allow high school students to earn up to two credits toward graduation for employment in assisted living communities and personal care homes, as well as other settings such as nursing homes and hospitals.

SB 1102 would expand the availability of long-term care training courses for nurse aides and eligibility for individuals to take the nurse aide competency exam. The bill would create an alternative pathway to become a nurse aide.

Proponents said that the measures would help address workforce shortages across the state’s senior living communities and other long-term care settings.

Improving dementia data collection, resources

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed HB 571, which calls for regular updates to the state’s Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias State Plan as well as improvements on data collection related to dementia.

The Georgia Data Analytics Center announced a written policy change stating that it will work with the state departments of Human Services, Health and Community Health to create a dementia dashboard. The dashboard will provide data related to how the state is supporting individuals who are living with dementia, as well as identify gaps in services.

“So many Georgia families are impacted by dementia and Alzheimer’s, and HB 571 will allow our state to continue its crucial work to better understand, diagnose and treat dementia and Alzheimer’s,” state Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs) said in a statement