On Disability Advocacy Day, hundreds of people gathered in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Minnesota. Among the topics highlighted was the need for direct care workforce reimbursement rate increases. According to organizations that serve disabled people, there are over 53,000 job openings for direct support professionals and personal care attendants in the state. These employees often provide in-home care to clients who receive state-waivered services.
Disability advocates throughout Minnesota want legislation passed that provides a raise for direct care staff. They also want funds to help recruit new direct care staff. Like the rest of the U.S., Minnesota is facing a shortage of direct care staff.
Across the state, Minnesotans can’t find support staff. The shortage leaves family members filling in the gaps. 85-year-old Acey cares for her husband, Tom, 88.
Last summer, she went to the emergency room due to exhaustion. For four months, she was Tom’s sole caregiver. They were on a waiting list for services. Unfortunately, there was such a shortage of direct care providers that nobody could help the Hofflanders.
Matt and Eunice Morelli bring their 56-year-old son Marco to their apartment in a senior living complex multiple days a week. Marco lives in an understaffed group home. Matt and Eunice, who are 90 and 87 years old, must provide complex physical care several days a week.
Disabled people rely on direct care staff to live their lives. Without this support, millions of Minnesota residents could end up in long-term care facilities. This would be devastating for them. Wages for support staff must be increased immediately, regardless of where they work, because care can’t wait.
Swanson, Kirsten. “Disability Advocates Rally at Minnesota Capitol for Rate Increases.” KSTP, Hubbard Broadcasting, 14 Feb. 2023, https://kstp.com/kstp-news/top-news/disability-advocates-rally-at-minnesota-capitol-for-rate-increases/.
Swanson, Kirsten. “From Group Home to Senior Living. Staffing Crisis in Minnesota’s Disability Services Forces Aging Parents into Desperate Situations.” KSTP, 4 Aug. 2022, https://kstp.com/5-investigates/from-group-home-to-senior-living-staffing-crisis-in-minnesotas-disability-services-forces-aging-parents-into-desperate-situations/?fbclid=IwAR0X_in4zW3tMvGM9KGNSzFAuh_-efpR2hyxFsECBwbE7iA7gm-PPFbVYyQ.
Rowland, Christopher. “Seniors Are Stuck Home Alone as Health Aides Flee for Higher-Paying Jobs.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 25 Sept. 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/09/25/seniors-home-health-care/.