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Letter: Senior caregivers need a living wage

"Giving caregivers a living wage would attract more workers and encourage them to turn this rewarding job into a career," writes East Grand Forks resident and resident assistant Nellie Arndt.

Letter to the editor FSA
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I am a Resident Assistant/Medication Aide at Good Samaritan Society-Heritage Grove, and I have been here for 12 years. I believe providing care and support for older adults isn’t just a job, it’s a calling. While I truly love my job, the tough conditions caregivers face makes coming to work a labor of love.

Even before the pandemic, being a professional caregiver was demanding work. Today, more than one million Minnesotans are 65 or older, and the demand for senior 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 nursing homes and 35% of assisted living settings are turning people away because they don’t 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. Still, caregivers are reaching our limits and burning out.

Giving caregivers a living wage would attract more workers and encourage them to turn this rewarding job into a career. A living wage would help us get some rest in our time off instead of worrying about taking on a second job. We need state lawmakers to act now and permanently raise wages for caregivers, so we can bring in more workers and continue providing great care for our seniors.

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

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This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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