Tuesday was the unofficial opening of the Aging Services of Minnesota Institute with the Board of Directors and Opinion Leaders gathering in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dean Bloemke, President, Roman Bloemke, Director of Operations and Sarah Work were invited to attend the event which featured key legislators and policy makers in the state of Minnesota.
The first half of the meeting discussed the demographic outlook for the state from Assistant Commissioner Loren Colman, Robert Meyer, and Valerie Cook, all from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. While the overall census trends to the increase of adults older than 60, an important part came at the end of the discussion with their goal for the care system. Make sure that independence, safety, offering choice and maintain dignity and respect were key goals. It was important for us as this lines up with our vision statement at Welcome Home
The second speaker was Hal Freshley, the planning and policy coordinator for the Minnesota Board on Aging. His discussion was based on work being done by the DHS Expert Panel Initiative. One of the key points of this presentation was the focus on resident satisfaction with senior living communities.
Commissioner Tom Hanson was next up to talk about the budget process and where we are currently at in Minnesota. It was a very entertaining session. Commissioner Hanson’s message continues to be that the budget process in Minnesota is a tough one at best. The unallottment process utilized by Gov. Pawlenty during the last session was a last resort and one that they felt needed to be done.
The final speakers of the evening were Rep. Laura Brod (R-New Prague), Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester). This session was lively and honest from the beginning as the legislators talked about aging services in Minnesota. After this session was over, it was still apparent that there is work to be done on both sides to come together on these important issues. Each side had valid points and it will be very interesting to see how the next few months play out at the state capitol.
The “official” start of the Institute begins tomorrow (Wednesday). We’ll continue to post over the next few days with a recap of the sessions. If you get a chance (and we don’t have technical difficulties), take a spin over to www.wtohdevelopment.com and click on live events. We have our hand held video camera along and have been interviewing key people in aging services. Our goal will be to post them each night. Our new channel is up and running and videos play on a loop, 24/7.