The caregivers of the candidates do not forget us this election / Public press service

Issues like crime and safety get a lot of attention on the Minnesota campaign trail, but those who have taken on the role of caregiver hope candidates will learn more about their experiences and the need for support. additional.

Minnesota is estimated to need more than 115,000 caregivers to meet the healthcare needs of elderly residents, but nearly 20% of the jobs are unfilled.

Paurvi Bhatt, healthcare executive and CaringBridge board member, said the lack of direct support for the family environment played a role in her decision to become a carer for both of her parents at different stages.

“Much of the care system coming home is strained,” Bhatt observed. “Because we don’t have enough people trained and ready to go home and well paid to do so.”

Bhatt will join other panelists to discuss the challenges facing caregivers in an online discussion on Wednesday. The event, hosted by AARP Minnesota, begins at noon with registration on the group’s website.

Last session, there was a legislative proposal to raise base wages for aging service workers across the state, but policymakers failed to reach a final agreement.

Beyond financial support, Bhatt said the system needs to be more culturally responsive to those who need home care as Minnesota’s population ages and becomes more diverse. As a second-generation immigrant whose parents are from India, Bhatt found such support lacking.

“Whether you’re someone who faces English as a second language, or whether you come from a different set of cultural traditions, or a set of things that you need; specific things in terms of acceptable foods or acceptable home practices,” Bhatt pointed out.

More than one in five Americans are caregivers. In Minnesota, approximately 64,000 people care for aging parents, spouses, children and adults with disabilities. Bhatt and other voices from the caring community say people often start taking on these roles without even realizing it, and add that while the public is worried, the issue tends to come under fire. spotlights during election season.

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