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MS ranks low among states for long-term care services, supports

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Wednesday, November 29, 2023   

A new report finds Mississippi could be doing a lot more to better serve the people in the state who need long-term care.

AARP's Long-Term Care Services and Supports Scorecard ranks Mississippi at 48th among the states. Mississippi ranks lowest in the nation for the safety and quality of its long-term care facilities, and also last for helping people with disabilities in their communities, with needs like transportation and jobs.

Kimberly Campbell, state director for AARP Mississippi, said more than three years after the pandemic began, the care resources provided -- both in Mississippi and nationwide -- are painfully inadequate.

"Our state is falling behind most states in efforts to improve care options for older adults," Campbell asserted. "The report sounds the alarm that there's much more to be done to keep up with the rapid, changing needs of an aging population."

The only category where Mississippi did fairly well is in "affordability and access," with a ranking of 19th. Campbell is hopeful state and federal policymakers, as well as long-term care providers, can use the scorecard to assess areas of strength and identify priorities for improvement.

Campbell emphasized the needs for increased funding and expansion of facilities to address the state's long-term care challenges. And she noted these issues are part of a broader health care accessibility problem in Mississippi.

"We're really concerned about making sure that we really shore up extra funding -- whether from the state level and even federal level -- to make sure Mississippi has more funding going towards their long-term services and those providers," Campbell emphasized.

She also stressed the importance of addressing the needs of the 470,000 family caregivers in the state, an area where Mississippi ranks 45th. She added AARP will back legislation supporting caregivers, such as tax credits or subsidies for working caregivers.

Disclosure: AARP Mississippi contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Community Issues and Volunteering, Health Issues, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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