Letter: Return to Community program

To the editor:

Programs that help seniors return to their homes after a nursing home stay needs to be a priority.  A stay in a nursing home can cost up to $11,000 per month. Research has shown that seniors that remain in a nursing home after 180 days are likely to remain there because their supports in the community start to disappear. It is essential that plans be put in place prior to this to help seniors return to the community. Minnesota’s Senior Linkage Line provides the Return to Community program. Under this program, a specialist meets with the senior to determine their needs, coordinate their transfer home, and continues to follow them in the community for five years. This service is only available to seniors who do not receive any other type of assistance, such as Medicaid.

For the seniors who are receiving services, returning home becomes more difficult. They have to work with a case manager or a relocation worker.  Case managers have a lot of clients and may not be able to assist with this transfer in a timely manner. Seniors have to wait to be seen by a relocation worker. For this group of seniors, there are many barriers to returning to the community.

Minnesota has a program that works, the Return to Community program; it should be available to all Minnesota residents. Contact the Minnesota Board on Aging and ask them to increase the availability of this program to all seniors

Rebekah Elling
Inver Grove Heights

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