Assisted Living: Serving Seniors, Supporting Jobs, Creating Economic Benefits
We often talk about the important role that Assisted Living is playing in the lives of our seniors, the great strides we are making in improving quality of life for them and the piece of mind that Assisted Living provides to the families and friends of our residents. It is a gift to them to know that their loved ones are receiving quality care and are able to live as independently as possible in a safe environment.
As most of you know, Assisted Living provides a wide range of choices in care and is an extremely popular option for many Californians. Assisted Living is designed to help seniors to continue living semi-independently in a non-institutional setting. Most often, communities offer a range of options that provide housing, help with daily and personal activities and some health-related care. Its success is good news for all of us who understand the changing demographics of our state – we have a growing elderly population with increased life expectancy who desire to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible.
While we could go on and on about the virtues of Assisted Living and all that it is accomplishing in our society and for our seniors and their families, today’s focus is about a different aspect of Assisted Living – one you may not have thought about before. That is: Assisted Living’s benefit as an economic engine in our state and our local communities. Even in the midst of these difficult economic times, Assisted Living and the associated activities it drives contribute heartily our state’s fiscal health. Assisted Living helps our economy through the stable employment, local investment, tax revenue, and the myriad of related economic activity that it generates. Clearly, Assisted Living should be recognized – and touted — for all that it contributes as a source of growth and economic stability in our state.
Notably, recent statistics indicate that more than 68,000 jobs stem from meeting the needs of those served in California Assisted Living communities each year. These jobs are not just the ones you automatically think of — for example, health care and social service providers, food service workers and maintenance crews. Jobs directly generated from Assisted Living are just the beginning of the story – there is a strong ripple effect in the cities and towns where these communities exist. Thousands of jobs from a variety of sectors of the economy are generated by activities from Assisted Living operations. Construction jobs, social services jobs, recreation and arts jobs, and government jobs are created from Assisted Living. And, jobs are generated in the areas of transportation, utilities, insurance, manufacturing, finance, and waste management from Assisted Living. At the end of the day, California sees a total benefit of about $2.2 billion in employee compensation directly and indirectly generated from Assisted Living. This benefit includes not only the salary and benefits for employees but the influence on spending, investment and savings patterns. Jobs fuel the economy and Assisted Living is playing a solid role in keeping our economy moving.
Overall, Assisted Living pushes more than $5 billion – with a “b” – into the statewide economy each year. To put this impact in perspective, the total employment and output benefits are only a little smaller in magnitude than the state’s entire warehousing and storage industry, a highly visible sector of the economy that is engaged in storing merchandise and providing logistics services. In terms of economic influence, Assisted Living in California also compares to the impact that professional sports in the Los Angeles region has on that area’s entire economy. In fact, the impact of Assisted Living in the total economic picture equates to 0.2 percent of California’s total employment and 0.3 percent of the state’s economic output. Importantly, for every dollar generated by Assisted Living, an additional 4 cents of economic benefit is indirectly generated in California’s local communities. In my mind and in the minds of economic experts, anything that contributes $5 billion of economic activity is a source of growth in our state and its expansion must be considered an investment in California’s future and our long-term economic health.
Assisted Living communities generate a good amount of tax revenue, too. Economists estimate that Assisted Living creates about $299 million in state and local taxes. These taxes include sales, personal and business taxes both from the work directly found in Assisted Living and from work that occurs in related areas. The winners of this added tax revenue are all of us. These revenues fund our public education system, pay for public safety officers including police and firefighters, and ensure that important social services programs are available to those most in need all across the state and here in our local area. In these troubled times, stable sources of tax revenue that help fund these critical services are more important than ever.
The value that Assisted Living will have both in terms of quality of life for our seniors and to our state and local economies will be even more profound in future years. Since the state’s elderly population is expected to grow at a rate much higher than the overall total population in the coming decades and life expectancy is on the rise, demand for the popular Assisted Living model will increase considerably. In addition to quality and choice in senior care, this means more jobs, more tax revenues and a larger, sustained economic ripple effect as a subsidiary benefit of expanding Assisted Living in our state.
Assisted Living is breaking ground – both in terms of answering the many needs of our state’s seniors and in its role as a stable provider of jobs and benefits, revenue and economic benefit across the state. Jobs created and revenues generated by Assisted Living’s presence should be protected and appreciated as this economy struggles to recover.
Categories: Memory Care