SUBSCRIBE NOW Get a year of news PLUS a gift box!

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

CCRI caregivers travel to Minnesota Capitol to fight for better wages

MOORHEAD -- Eighteen people with the nonprofit CCRI (Creative Care for Reaching Independence) are heading to the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul to plead for better pay for the caregivers of people with disabilities.

0B6NQBzkycuE2NTlZdEVnS19ySE0.jpg
We are part of The Trust Project.

MOORHEAD - Eighteen people with the nonprofit CCRI (Creative Care for Reaching Independence) are heading to the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul to plead for better pay for the caregivers of people with disabilities.

It's all smiles and laughter at lunch for Vicki Lenssen and Gloria in south Moorhead.

Lenssen has been a caregiver for CCRI since 2011 and has been with Gloria the entire time.

Monday's big errand?

"We're going to get her a perm," Lenssen said.

ADVERTISEMENT

That's so Gloria can look her best when they join 16 other CCRI caregivers, clients and family members to head to a rally in St. Paul advocating to Minnesota lawmakers for higher pay for caregivers.

"It's time for the state to step up and make a difference for them," said Shannon Bock, CCRI executive director.

In Minnesota, a caregiver makes about $12.32 per hour, compared to North Dakota, where starting pay can be up to $16 an hour.

"It's really important that what we do as caregivers is really valued, CCRI caregiver Dan Hickel said. "And the legislators, I think, really need to understand that."

They're asking lawmakers to pass a bill that would increase pay by 4% this year and 4% next year, comparable to North Dakota's wages.

Like Lenssen, most caregivers say they couldn't imagine doing anything else.

"In life, you can sometimes find out what your calling in life is and I truly believe this is what I was meant to do," Hickel said.

They know the pay for some isn't livable.

ADVERTISEMENT

"How can you support others if you can't support yourself?" asked CCRI caregiver Danielle Weller.

"There was one time for a period where I had to work four jobs," Hickel said.

For the clients, life without their caregivers would be impossible.

"They help me with everything I can't take care off. So I can live and still have a life," said CCRI client Mitchell Benson. "And to think that they do that, at a fraction of the level they deserve."

The group will leave for St. Paul around 5 a.m. Tuesday March 14.

They will also be at the hearing for SF 669 and HF 873, the two pieces of legislation that would provide consecutive 4 percent wage increases in 2017 and 2018, and call for the development of a long-term strategy to address health insurance coverage for direct care workers by 2019.

What to read next
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends isolating COVID patients for at least five days, preferably in a separate room with access to their own bathroom, as well as diligent mask-wearing for both patient and caregiver. But for many families, those aren’t easy options. But take heart: Scientists say there is still a lot people can do to protect their families, chief among them improving ventilation and filtration of the air.
When you have one of those mornings that starts in a frenzy and throws you off your game, you might feel a little off kilter the rest of the day. Those episodes can quickly derail a fitness and healthy eating plan. In this "Health Fusion" column, the Goal Getters Project shares a great tip that may help keep you on track in the morning so you can have a successful day.
Don't be afraid to create a DIY container garden full of flowers. There are no rules! Whatever plants you pick will help brighten your days and lift your mood. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams shares three tips for a stunning pot of flowers.
It is unclear how much demand is there for the third dose in the 5-11 age group. Just 28.8% of children aged 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, according to the latest CDC data.