Letter: Elderly carers need a living wage – InForum

I’m a resident assistant/medication aide at Good Samaritan Society-Heritage Grove, and I’ve been here 12 years. I believe that providing care and support to the elderly is not just a job, it’s a calling. Although I really love my job, the difficult conditions caregivers face make coming to work a labor of love.

Even before the pandemic, being a professional caregiver took work. Today, more than one million Minnesotans are 65 or older, and the demand for elder care is growing. However, with fewer caregivers entering the field and more caregivers leaving it, our seniors are losing access to the care they need. 78% of retirement homes and 35% of assisted living facilities refuse people because they do not have enough staff.

As a Caregiver, I provide physical, mental and emotional support to my residents around the clock. It’s exhausting, but the relationships I have with my residents and their families are so rewarding. However, caregivers reach our limits and become exhausted.

Giving carers a living wage would attract more workers and encourage them to make a career out of this rewarding job. A decent salary would help us rest in our free time instead of worrying about taking a second job. We need state legislators to act now and permanently raise caregiver salaries, so we can bring in more workers and continue to provide great care for our seniors.

Nellie Arndt is a resident of East Grand Forks, Minn.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Forum Editorial Board or the owners of the Forum.

Michael A. Bynum