Among the critical issues facing state lawmakers this session is the obligation to address severe workforce shortages in senior care.
The state must take action or risk collapse of the sector throughout Minnesota.
At the start of the year, 23,000 caregiving jobs – approximately 20 percent of all positions – remained vacant. The impact has been staggering. Seventy-eight percent of nursing homes and 35 percent of assisted living facilities continue to turn away seniors who need their services due to staffing constraints.
Ten nursing homes in Minnesota have been forced to close their doors since the beginning of the pandemic, including three in 2022 alone. Just last week, county commissioners voted to close Ramsey County Care Center in Maplewood due to insurmountable operational costs. Ninety-five residents must be relocated. The impact of one closure is staggering, and dozens more face staffing crises that could lead to closure if lawmakers don’t act soon.
Senior care communities are stuck in a vicious cycle. Inadequate state funding means we can’t raise wages to recruit and retain caregivers. We can’t find the workers we need to care for the growing number of seniors who need care. And that means we can’t admit new residents into our settings. Fewer residents mean senior care settings cannot generate the revenue needed to operate. This is a sector that is on the brink of collapse, and we need state lawmakers to act now, before it’s too late.