Gov. Walz Signs Bill Providing More Protections for Senior Citizens

Protections include licensure for assisted living facilities and the option of putting cameras in residents' rooms

DILWORTH, Minn. — Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law that gives more protections to senior citizens.

That means assisted living facilities will have to make changes, too. Minnesota is the only state that doesn’t have a standardized licensure system for them.

That, along with several other provisions, will be added when the law goes in effect in 2021.

“Although these regulations were necessary and needed, I do think there is a danger of over regulation as well,” State Sen. Kent Eken said.

The plan ensures seniors have a place to go when their nursing home contracts are up. It also gives residents the option of having cameras installed in their rooms. If video monitoring is used, the ombudsman’s office has to be notified. The facility must become aware of the cameras 14 days after they’re put in.

Serenity Assisted Living in Dilworth already has cameras in common areas, but for facilities that don’t, it’s one of many costs that come with the new regulations.

Serenity also has to send someone out of state to get required training, which digs into their budget.

“To simply be told you have to have this, without offering us any type of solution, maybe somebody from the state can come in and train, but if that doesn’t happen, then it’s a burden,” Elaine Anderson, the owner, said.

“We know the demands are increasing, everybody acknowledges that, but no one wants to talk about the hard subject of where do we find the resources necessary to provide the care they need,” Eken said.

It’s also about resources to stop elder abuse. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, reports of abuse rose over thirty percent in the past four years.

“The fact is we need to put our money where our mouths are. We really believe in good quality care for our seniors, we need to be putting resources into that area,” Eken said.

“Anytime you bring forth more mandates, the original model of assisted living has been distorted…without the proper funding, and without the proper resources to move forward… that’s the scary part,” Anderson said.

Eken has also proposed converting parts of nursing homes into veterans’ homes, so those who served our country can be close to their families.

Categories: Local News, Minnesota News, Politics / Elections