To the editor:

The Minnesota Legislature should pass a bill updating house, apartment, and condo construction requirements so they meet the needs of all users, including older and disabled residents. When housing does not meet people’s needs, it often requires them to live in assisted living facilities or nursing homes at much greater cost to them and the state, often with greater separation from friends, family, religious organizations, and community activities, and resulting in injuries.

The big change on its way is a shift in the proportion of children under 18 and adults over age 65. Adults over 65 will begin to outnumber children in the year 2034 growing to 95 million adults 65-plus in contrast to 80 million children under 18 by 2060. The number of 85-plus adults is expected to triple from 6 million to 19 million.

Because the generation 45-64 will be a smaller generation than the 80-plus generation that needs the most health care, there will be a national shortage of family caregivers by 2050 for each 80-plus person, dropping from 7:1 to 3:1. Currently 40 million caregivers, mostly women, provide $470 billion annually in unpaid care nationally.

Homes, condos, and apartments built to include everyone’s needs provide the following benefits:

1. Keep people with a disability close to family, friends, stores, religious and other organizations.

2. Help older people who have a disability remain financially solvent.

3. Save both the state and individual substantial payments. In MN, full time home care costs approximately $60,000 a month, assisted living is $48,000 not including extra services, and $90,000 for nursing homes.

4. Maintain the economy by keeping women in the workforce.

5. Help women to keep their careers and maintain their income so they can afford their own retirement.

6. Are especially important to African, African American, Asian, Indian, Latino, and white ethnic families that have strong intergenerational traditions.

If the Legislature does not pass a statewide requirement for inclusive housing codes, Brooklyn Park should pass its own code.

Carol Woehrer

Brooklyn Park

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