Since the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision in 1999, every state has been required to examine how it funds services and supports for persons with disabilities. This includes many seniors and vulnerable adults. States must provide those services supports in the most integrated setting – which means that people must have the opportunity to interact with other persons who don’t have disabilities.
The Supreme Court was concerned with the segregation of people in institutions when deciding the Olmstead case. Since the case was decided, Minnesota and other states have moved towards growing community based services – supporting people to live in their own homes as long as possible. At the Minnesota Elder Justice Center, we advocate for people to live where they want for as long as possible, but also believe that services provided in the community must be accompanied by strong protections.
As society learns more about elder and vulnerable adult abuse, especially about the high percentage of cases that occur in community and residential settings, we must dedicate more resources to preventing abuse from occurring and addressing abuse when it occurs. This will remain an important part of the overall effort to support people in their desired community setting for as long as possible.
To learn more about Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan, go here.