GSA Members Call on Senate to Support Higher Standards for Assisted Living Facilities
Speaking today at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, Gerontological Society of America members Jennifer Craft Morgan, PhD, FGSA, and Richard J. Mollot, JD, called on lawmakers to enact policies that enable greater state and national oversight of assisted living facilities, and that bolster the workforce and engagement of residents and care partners.
Senators convened the hearing, titled “Assisted Living Facilities: Understanding Long-Term Care Options for Older Adults,” to examine challenges faced by assisted living facility residents. Committee Chair Bob Casey recently sent letters to the CEOs of three of the largest corporate owners of American assisted living facilities, expressing “significant concerns about workforce shortages and expensive and inadequate care in assisted living facilities raised by recent reporting in The Washington Post and The New York Times,” and requesting the companies provide further information.
“Assisted living is a large and growing long-term care residential option for individuals who need or want additional supports for activities of daily living,” said Morgan, who serves as a professor and director of the Gerontology Institute at Georgia State University. “There are approximately 30,600 assisted living communities in the U.S. with almost 1.2 million licensed beds and 818,800 residents. This industry employs a total of 478,500 workers, 66 percent of which are direct care workers.”
In her testimony, Morgan recommended that the Senate take steps to support the standardization of monitoring and resources to increase state-based oversight and transparency; improve and standardize initial and continuing education training for direct care workers in assisted living; professionalize the direct care workforce; incentivize and reward good employers who deliver high quality care; increase access to assisted living; and improve care coordination and resources for people living with dementia and their care partners.
Testimony from Mollot, who serves as the executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, included recommendations to establish and implement national standards to promote quality, safety, and integrity in assisted living; establish a national assisted living database; and promote resident and family engagement.
“Improving transparency, quality, and accountability in assisted living is not only a matter of public interest but a moral imperative,” Mollot said. “Now more than ever, federal action is needed to ensure that older Americans receive the care and support they deserve while fostering a system that promotes transparency and accountability within the industry.”
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure includes a nonpartisan public policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and GSA is also home to the National Center to Reframe Aging and the National Coordinating Center for the Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research.