Assisted living facilities are facing record lows when it comes to employees – KTTC

MINNESOTA (KTTC) — According to Leading Age Minnesota, 70 percent of nursing homes are limiting admissions due to staffing shortages. That is up almost 30 percent since July of this year.

A growing number of seniors cannot receive the long term care they need, when they need it.

“We get calls from family members who have called 30, 40 places trying to place their loved one, and if their loved one is special needs, especially memory care. If we don’t have the staff we can’t take them,” Care Providers of Minnesota President Patti Cullen said.

It is difficult to pinpoint why this may be, but one reason may be the lack of interest young people who are entering the work force have in senior care.

“I think in general we have a lot of staff members in health care that are 20, 30 and 40 year employees. We don’t have a ton that are one and two year employees. I don’t know if it’s the younger people that are coming out of college that don’t want to work in a nursing home, don’t want to work,” Monarch Healthcare Management COO Marc Halpert said.

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate is also coming but as of right now, health care professionals say this is not the reason for low employment numbers.

“We don’t know if it’s going to apply specifically to all assisted living. We don’t know how it’s going to apply. We don’t know if there’s any exemptions, and we don’t know if there’s a test out option,” Cullen said.

Senior Care facilities across the state have tried incentives including sign-on bonuses and overtime pay, but the facilities we spoke with say that still is not working.

“We have a proposal that we’re presenting to the legislature and the governor’s office that we have to boost up all wages. This has to become a livable wage job so that you don’t have to work two jobs,” Cullen said. “Part of it is making sure we can recruit folks for this valued profession and that it’s marketed as such.”

While the senior care facilities we spoke with are not currently dealing with a vaccine mandate, they are concerned with how it may further impact their staffing situation.

That is, whether current employees decide to quit over the mandate or future employees are prevented from applying.