Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging (MNLCOA) 2018 Summit: Forward Progress for Aging Well in Minnesota

JFS Aging & Disability Services Director Chris Rosenthal, who represents JFS on the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging (MNLCOA), attended the 2018 Summit in December at the University of Minnesota. Approximately 200 professionals and legislators from around the state attended. The Summit is an annual event designed to focus on systems and policy at all levels that impact older Minnesotans, caregivers and aging services.

Key highlights of this year’s summit were presentations by Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. Commissioner Malcolm reported on the audit required by the Office of Legislative Auditor following the 2017 Star Tribune “Left to Suffer” series that described reports of elder abuse and neglect across the state. She also described her efforts over the 2018 summer to spearhead six working groups to explore potential changes to law and policy to more effectively protect vulnerable adults in Minnesota.

Another key highlight was a panel discussion between Minnesota state legislators and bi-partisan leaders in the areas of health and human services and aging/long term care reform. The following legislators participated:

  • Senator Jim Abeler, Senate Human Services Reform
  • Senator Karin Housley, Family Care and Aging
  • Senator Tom Lourey, Ranking Minority lead, Senate Health and Human Services
  • Representative Tina Liebling, 2019 Chair, House Health and Human Services
  • Representative Deb Kiel, 2018 Chair, House Subcommittee on Aging and Long Term Care
  • Representative Joe Schomacker, 2018 Chair, House Health and Human Services.

The panel had a lively discussion regarding challenges faced by older adults to be tackled during the 2019 legislative session.

A panel of Minnesota agency directors provided insights into 2019 legislative initiatives and priorities impacting older Minnesotans and caregivers. The panel included:

  • MN Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Johnson Piper
  • MN Department of Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman
  • MN Board on Aging Executive Director Kari Benson

All of the presenters clearly recognize the growing age wave in Minnesota and across the country. They all expressed concern about the ability of the state to be able to financially support the needs of older Minnesotans and caregivers into the future. The urgency of the need to be creative and start planning now was front and center throughout the Summit.

For more information about the Summit, go to http://www.mnlcoa.org/summit.