Preparing for the ‘Silver Tsunami’: How can we better care for Minnesota seniors without breaking the bank?
Americans are good at spending a lot of money on health care in our final days, but not as adept at providing the supports frequently needed to maintain health or to deal with chronic illnesses toward the end of life. But the overall quality of life experienced by a large and growing number of Minnesotans will largely be determined by how well we care for our elders. By 2020, for the first time in Minnesota history, those 65 and older will outnumber school-age kids. By 2030, one in four Minnesotans will be 60 or older.
Many believe that neither our health systems nor most individual citizens are fully prepared for this coming “silver tsunami.” As Minnesota’s baby boomers start entering their 70s, some longstanding questions take on new urgency: How can we have better health outcomes while spending the same or less than we do now? What innovations will change the face of elder care in Minnesota? And what roles do individuals and the public sphere have in preparing for our future?
MinnPost Managing Editor Susan Albright will put those questions to leading representatives from several corners of the Minnesota healthcare community in a lively panel discussion. After the experts have given their prescriptions, audience members will have a chance to pose questions of their own, and perhaps offer a second opinion.
Guest panelists include:
- Mary Jo George — Associate State Director - Advocacy, AARP
- Dr. Thomas Klemond, MD — Palliative Medicine and Community Care Department Chair, Park Nicollet Health Services
- Gayle Kvenvold — President/CEO, LeadingAge Minnesota
- State Sen. Tony Lourey — Chair, Health and Human Services Finance Committee
- Dawn Simonson — Executive Director, Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging
The conversation will be of interest to a broad set of stakeholders engaged in advancing health care in Minnesota: state and local governments, community partners, the health sector, service organizations, and anyone with a personal interest in eldercare issues.
This event will take place 7:30-9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, in Northrop’s Best Buy Theater. Drinks and light breakfast items will be provided.
Registration is required, but admission to the event is free, thanks to the generous support of UCare.
Mary Jo George is AARP’s associate state director of advocacy for health and long-term care in Minnesota. She has more than 20 years’ experience in government relations work. Prior to joining AARP, she worked as a lobbyist for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Minnesota AIDS Project, and the Minnesota Nurses Association. She has a successful track record passing legislation in the areas of health, long-term care and disability and insurance law. Notable achievements include the passage of Minnesota’s health program for low-income working families (MinnesotaCare) and a range of policies expanding and improving access to home- and community-based services for older Minnesotans.
Thomas Klemond, M.D., is a specialist in palliative medicine, advanced illness management, care coordination and hospice care; he chairs the Palliative Medicine and Community Care Department at Park Nicollet Health Services. He is a member of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and serves the advisory board of Honoring Choices Minnesota. Dr. Klemond received his board certification in hospice and palliative medicine in 2006; he completed medical school at the University of Minnesota in 1999 and his internal medicine residency in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, in 2002.
Gayle M. Kvenvold is the president and CEO of LeadingAge Minnesota (formerly Aging Services of Minnesota), the state’s largest association of senior living organizations. Its nearly 1,000 member organizations deliver services to older adults in more than 700 Minnesota communities, in settings ranging from their own home to congregate housing to assisted living to care centers/transitional care. Kvenvold is a past co-chair and active member of the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging; she serves on the state’s Own Your Future Advisory Council, a group dedicated to helping Minnesotans plan and pay for their future long-term care needs. Kvenvold has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick) represents District 11 in the Minnesota Senate. He serves on the Finance Committee and chairs its Health and Human Services division; he is also a member of the Health, Human Services and Housing Committee. Lourey was first elected to the Senate in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010 and 2012. He earned a JD degree from William Mitchell College of Law and his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota.
Dawn Simonson is the executive director of the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging, which serves the Minneapolis and St. Paul region. She has more than 20 years of experience in the field of aging across a number of professional and voluntary leadership roles. Simonson serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota Association of Area Agencies on Aging; she also co-chairs Minnesota's ACT on Alzheimer's Engaging Communities Leadership Group and serves on the steering and management teams. She holds a master of public affairs degree from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs.