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PUBLIC POLICY


Christopher Laxton, executive director at


the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, or AMDA, noted that the growth in senior living partly has been driv- en by growth in how to understand memory care. He said Alzheimer’s is a disease “too big for us,” adding that caregivers of those with dementia experience a high degree of burnout, as well as economic and job loss. Panel moderator Argentum President &


Advocates Argentum For You


The landscape of long term care policy is changing and senior living leaders would be well served to continue to lean in on the issues to shape the debates and steer the in- dustry’s future, said panelists at Argentum’s Public Policy Institute on Capitol Hill this past fall. “You can’t talk about senior living with-


out bumping into the issue of dementia and Alzheimer’s,” said Alzheimer’s Association Chief Public Policy Officer Robert Egge, speaking during panel discussion Perspec- tives on the Future of Senior Living Policy. “It’s going to be more and more of a burden that we all face together.” Egge said there are challenges in look-


ing at an “area of slow decline” within a policy framework, adding that dementia is the most costly medical condition in the United States according to a RAND study. However, he said progress is being made and it’s “likely we’ll see the first generation of treatments for dementia,” which will help stem the disease’s progress but not cure it. These developments are “going to lead to


a whole new dialogue with those you serve,” he said, speaking to about 100 senior living national and state leaders. “These issues strike at the heart of the


tensions we feel at the federal policy level,” said Serena Lowe with the Administration for Community Living, part of the Department of Health and Human Services. “The inten-


Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko of New York welcomes Argentum New York Co-Director Ginger Lynch Landy on Capitol Hill as part of Argentum's Public Policy Institute in September.


56 SENIOR LIVING EXECUTIVE / NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016


tion of policymakers is to establish a frame- work that promotes innovation and allows for better individualization of service delivery.” Lowe said working with organizations


such as Argentum has “opened our eyes” in figuring out the need for a better balance in ensuring safe environments for seniors that also optimize integration and person-cen- tered strategies. Additionally, through dia- logue with Argentum’s members, federal pol- icymakers have become acutely aware of the need to allow greater flexibility for front-line direct support workers who are responsible for implementing services to support seniors’ individual desires and needs.


CEO James Balda asked panelists whether they believed senior living could expect to see more regulation as the increasing rates of Alzheimer’s in senior living are likely to raise visibility of the industry as a whole. Lowe said there’s already been a “huge


wave” of policy changes during the current administration, and it took “a lot of effort from stakeholders” to get several rules and regulations out on the street. However, she added: “I think everybody was naive as to the amount of effort, time, resources and energy it would take to truly transform heavily-entrenched, long-standing systems at a state and local level.” When asked about the next big issues that


need to be prioritized at the federal level, Lowe encouraged ongoing dialogue about how to design managed long term services and supports in a way that is constructive. Egge said he has confidence the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act will be implemented this Congress. Laxton said it’s important Continued on page 58


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