I’m always eager to share resources for people who are interested in learning more about the senior living industry and related topics like long-term care. That’s why I was excited to hear about the most recent version of the AARP Public Policy Institute’s Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) State Scorecard Report.

Ranking LTSS by state

LTSS are considered the activities of daily living (ADLs) needed by the elderly or people with long-term disabilities–everything from personal care, to wound care, to help with housekeeping, meals, and paying bills. These support services may be provided to the person in the home or in some type of a care facility, such as an assisted living setting. For the purposes of the AARP scorecard, LTSS include support services offered to unpaid caregivers as well.

Using state-by-state data, this online scorecard measures LTSS and shines a spotlight on states’ performance in these five crucial categories:

  • Affordability and access
  • Choice of setting and provider
  • Quality of life and quality of care
  • Support for family caregivers
  • Effective transitions

Using these so-called “dimensions,” the top performing states for 2017 were:

  1. Washington
  2. Minnesota
  3. Vermont
  4. Oregon
  5. Alaska

An improved scorecard

Originally released in 2011 and updated every three years since, the LTSS state scorecard seeks to highlight areas of success as well as opportunities for improving services to older Americans and the disabled. The AARP has collaborated with The Commonwealth Fund and The SCAN Foundation to create these reports, and they have used the data to advocate to policymakers–at both the state and national level–on behalf of seniors, the disabled, and their caregivers.

>> Related: The Long-Term Care Ombudsmen Program: Advocating for Seniors

But the recent 2017 version of the online scorecard adds a much higher level of interactivity than in previous years, making the data more accessible and useful. Supplementing the scorecard report itself, users can now view metrics by state. You can examine key indicators for your selected state as compared to all other states, or you can choose to compare specific states.

Some of the particularly relevant scorecard metrics when it comes to seniors and the senior living industry include:

  • Median annual nursing home private pay cost as a percentage of median household income, age 65+
  • Median annual home care private pay cost as a percentage of median household income, age 65+
  • Private long-term care insurance policies in effect per 1,000 people, age 40+
  • Assisted living and residential care units per 1,000 population, age 75+
  • Supporting working caregivers (composite indicator, scale 0-9.0)
  • Percent of home health patients with a hospital admission
  • Percent of people with 90+ day nursing home stays successfully transitioning back to the community

>> Related: How to Analyze the Quality of a CCRC Healthcare Center

What we learn from the 2017 data

While this year’s scorecard shows that there have been improvements in many states (versus the 2014 data), it also highlights the need for continued improvement when it comes to support services for vulnerable populations in our country. For example, the scorecard report notes, “the majority of states had no meaningful change in each of the five measures in the Affordability and Access dimension. The cost of LTSS over time remains much higher than what middle-income families can afford, and most adults do not have private long-term care insurance.”

But there also is positive news from the report’s data: Most states did show improvement in at least one of the areas examined by the scorecard.

Check out the 2017 scorecard and interactive website yourself to learn more about LTSS in your state.

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