Last year, professor Steve Chies taught a class of 48 students who were entering a one-year practicum to train as long-term care administrators. “Out of the 48, 46 of them were millennials. It gave me great hope in our sector that we have good leaders coming up in millennials,” says Steve. “They’re passionate, enthusiastic and wanting to learn.”
The best part of teaching long-term care administration, says Steve, is the chance to work with people who want to learn about long-term care and make a difference. “They’re committed, and they want to do the right thing for the older citizens of this country.”
At the beginning of his own graduate program, Steve was given the opportunity to be an elderly resident for a day, which he calls a transformative experience. “They put us in a wheelchair and put various devices on us to simulate disability. That experience has influenced me my entire career. It’s given me great understanding and great empathy for what we do on a day-to-day basis.” Having walked through aging and dementia with his late mother-in-law, Steve also understands the challenges of the aging journey for families.
Steve says the biggest challenge we have in Minnesota and across the country is the lack of planning for older years when health care or supportive care services are often needed. “We have virtually no public policy in this country that addresses what happens when people do need care and services and family aren’t readily available and the funds aren’t readily available,” says Steve. “We need somebody to step forth and lead an effort to make this right for America and for the citizens of this country.”