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Coalition for Senior Caregivers Says State Budget Must Bring Stability and Security to Caregiving Workforce
Without needed investment, Minnesota faces a senior caregiving crisis
St. Paul – An unprecedented coalition of caregivers, consumers and providers of senior services across Minnesota today called attention to the senior caregiving crisis that must be addressed in the upcoming state budget. Calling on Governor Mark Dayton and legislative leaders to recognize the demographic shift of the state, the leading advocacy organizations for caregivers, seniors and senior care providers called on the legislature to give caregivers the support they deserve. The coalition looks forward with additional discussions with Governor Mark Dayton and legislative leaders to brief them on the critical nature of the senior care work force and ways to support caregivers and improve quality in senior care in the next budget. “Minnesota cannot sustain the level of care our seniors demand and deserve unless we shift our spending and thinking to address the age wave that is about to swallow the state, “ said Patti Cullen, president and CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota. Minnesota’s Senior Caregiving Workforce Crisis Minnesota’s caregiving workforce is not keeping pace with the demands of a fast-growing population of older adults in the state, in large part due to low wages that have been frozen or cut by the state budget for the past 5 years. “Senior caregivers and their families have borne a huge burden over the past four years of state budget deficits,” said Gayle Kvenvold, president and CEO of Aging Services of Minnesota. “They answer the highest calling to serve Minnesota seniors who need them, and yet often struggle – working multiple jobs – just to make ends meet for their own families at home.” Governor, Legislature Have Significant Control Over Wages for Senior Caregivers Unlike virtually any other sector, the State of Minnesota – via the Governor and Legislature – has almost total control over the wages paid to senior caregivers, since the state sets the payment rates paid to senior service providers. These rates have been frozen and/or cut each of the past 5 years, bringing caregivers to a point where they cannot sacrifice further and still be able to serve the seniors who depend on them. -more-
If an investment in caregiver wages is not included in the upcoming biennial budget, there will be no way for these critical caregivers to receive the wage increases they so desperately need to make ends meet for their own families, while working tirelessly to serve others. “Every hour of every day, a caregiver somewhere in Minnesota is taking care of our loved ones when we cannot provide that care ourselves,” said Rick Varco, Political Director SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.. “The hardworking caregivers of Minnesota deserve a raise.” ”Minnesota seniors and their families deserve quality care and support – care that can only be provided if we invest in the caregivers who are the backbone of Minnesota’s senior care system,” said Michelle Kimball, executive director of AARP Minnesota. ###
More Information About Senior Care in Minnesota Every year, more than 200,000 Minnesotans receive care from care centers, assisted living, inhome caregivers, and other community-based services. By 2020, Minnesota is forecasted to have more seniors over 65 than school age children. About The Long-Term Care Imperative The Long-Term Care Imperative is a legislative collaboration between Aging Services of Minnesota and Care Providers of Minnesota to advance a shared vision for senior care and supportive services for Minnesota’s senior population. We believe that seniors deserve real, personalized care, and that such care requires further investment in Minnesota’s senior care programs and in the caregivers who implement them. To learn more, visit www.FacesandPlacesofCare.com. About AARP Minnesota Serving Minnesotans 50+ and their families, AARP is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all generations through positive social change. We provide information and resources; engage in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy; assist members in serving their communities; and offer a wide range of unique benefits. There are nearly 700,000 AARP members in Minnesota. About SEIU Minnesota SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents more than 15,000 healthcare workers in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes throughout Minnesota. The Service Employees International Union, an organization of 2 million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide and dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society.