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Survey: Arizona Seniors Support Long-Term Care Reform

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Monday, June 28, 2021   

PHOENIX, Ariz - Arizona seniors want policymakers to reform what they see as the state's outdated long-term care system - to provide safe, high-quality nursing home care, with more options for home-based treatment.

A new poll from AARP found nine in 10 Arizona voters age 50 and older want to be able to - when possible - choose to receive long-term care services at home.

AARP Arizona State Director Dana Kennedy said the state's current system tends to favor subpar nursing homes over home-based care. She said the survey helps AARP determine which issues are important to its members.

"It gives us a good idea of the mindset of our members," said Kennedy. "Our members are very diverse. They're Republicans, they're Democrats and they're Independents. And so, this is a really good idea of what they think and what we should be advocating for."

She added that AARP is urging Arizona lawmakers to provide more options for seniors to age in place in their own homes. That includes funding more inspectors, an ombudsman and more Adult Protective Services workers.

State officials disbanded the Board of Examiners that regulated management of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, after it licensed a felon accused of mismanaging a Prescott facility during the pandemic.

Kennedy said the survey shows near-unanimous support for moving away from institutional care.

"I think voters saw what was really happening in our skilled nursing facilities," said Kennedy. "And they want to make sure that people are protected and cared for properly."

Kennedy said the polling also indicated state and federal policymakers need to improve working conditions for caregivers.

"They would like to have more dollars for caregivers and direct-care workers," said Kennedy. "We realize that we have a shortage of workforce and we need to do a better job recruiting, training and supporting those direct-care workers."

Arizonans surveyed also want officials to require nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to put most of the taxpayer funding they receive toward adequate staffing and safety protocols. The survey results are online at 'aarp.org/AZ.'

Disclosure: AARP Arizona contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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