Minnesota’s moment of reckoning just keeps moving closer. It used to seem like a problem way off in the future, but next year already there will be more retirement-age Minnesotans than school-aged Minnesotans. Every year, another 60,000 Minnesotans turn 65, a trend that’s expected to continue through 2030. In just three years, 1 million Minnesotans will be 65 or older — nearly a full one-fourth of the state. The number of Minnesotans over 65 has been climbing steadily since 2015, with growth in that population of 72 percent expected by 2040.
It’s a huge problem with the potential to be financially crippling both to Minnesota and to Minnesotans. Few aging state residents are setting aside anywhere near enough for their future long-term care, and the state is ill-prepared to care for everybody. There aren’t enough facilities. The cost of care is skyrocketing. And, already, the shortage of caregivers is at a crisis level.
So, once again, this legislative session the Long-Term Care Imperative — a collaboration of Minnesota’s two provider associations: LeadingAge Minnesota and Care Providers of Minnesota — is in St. Paul making as much noise as it can for action that has been needed for years. Many lawmakers have heard the pitch before, but they can no longer ignore it. Newly elected lawmakers, 39 of them, may be getting educated for the first time. All lawmakers can take heed.