Nursing homes in Montana are closing at an alarming rate.

There were 11 nursing homes that closed in Montana in 2022.  Each piece of research on the subject seems to come back to the same couple of things: (I found The Billings Gazette, KTVQ and The Daily Montanan all did write ups on this subject.)

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Here are the main reasons nursing homes are struggling:

1.  Allotted money from the government isn't enough to cover patient care.  It falls about a hundred dollars a day short.  That can add up really fast.

2.  People can make a Fifteen to Twenty dollar an hour wage doing much less stressful work now.  It used to be that a CNA would make above minimum wage, and it drew people in to what is considered a high stress job.  Now, a person can go almost anywhere and make a better wage for less stress.

Now nursing homes are closing and the residents are forced to move sometimes hundreds of miles from those closest to them to get care.  Not seeing friends and family takes a toll on our seniors.  And it's even worse because a lot of time, their chances at leading a somewhat free life hinge on the people living near them.

I'm seeing this bleed into our retirement communities

My mom lives in a retirement community.  They boast independent living, with some services like meals that are available, various activities available to residents and housekeeping and maintenance.

Since she moved in, rent has been raised once or twice.  The services they provide are slowly dwindling.  They haven't had a steady cleaning staff since about when Covid hit. They actually suggested that the residents have family members come clean their apartments or to hire it out.  These apartments already cost thousands of dollars a month and the people who live there shouldn't be forced to beg for help or clean tubs, toilets and floors by themselves.

When pressed on the subject, they say no one wants to work, there's not a work ethic anymore and all of the standard denial statements.  The truth of the fact is that employment ads from this company offer housekeeping at Ten dollars an hour.  And they say they'll have to raise rent or stop providing housekeeping to the elderly.  Again, it's a matter of being responsive to the world around you.  Denial and standing firm in your Ten dollar an hour belief isn't going to get you anywhere. For the record, I do not blame the employees or manager.  It's the nowhere to be found owner.

The point I'm making is two fold:

We as a state and country have to take better care of our elderly.  That means not cutting Social Security and the like and giving reasonable annual evaluations as to what is needed to care for them properly.

It also comes down to budgeting.  We don't live in a world where anyone will take any job or any three jobs just to have them any more.  If Covid taught us anything, it's to value quality of life.  The reason so many are opting for the one good paying job than wasting their lives at two or three low paying jobs.

Maybe the Governor will allocate more of Montana's surplus to taking care of our seniors.  I wouldn't mind seeing my share of the refund used that way.

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