As noted in previous posts, “Poking Around” peaks after Labor Day – which means that events and tributes slip by unheralded. “Better late than never” rules in this tardy reminder that we are now mid-week in Direct Support Professionals Week, which began last Sunday and continues through September 17.
In Minnesota Direct Support Professionals are generally referred to as Personal Care Attendants; PCA’s are “the primary providers of publicly-funded, long-term support services” for hundreds of Minnesotans with mental or physical disabilities. Caregivers assure that those in their care remember their meds, navigate public transit, get to the hairdresser or the grocery story, exercise, have books to read and a comfortable and healthy environment.
More than this, these professionals assure that individuals with disabilities lead lives that are productive, successful and independent. Most often, these committed care providers establish close, respectful, trusting relations with individuals in their care. In the end, people with disabilities, their families and Minnesota taxpayers are able to avoid or diminish the financial burden of institutional care.
As a frequent bus rider I observe almost daily the mutually beneficial collaboration between individuals with disabilities and their care provider. Recently I reflected in this blog on my State Fair observations of the ways in which care givers – as well as friends and family members — are expanding options for those who depend on assistance to enjoy the unique experience afforded by the Great Minnesota Get-Together. (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/category/minnesota/minnesota-state-fair/)
As everyone knows, an aging population magnifies and underscores the need for more Direct Support Professionals. As a society we need to understand the challenge faced people who choose this profession — above all, to be paid a living wage! It is also so important that PCA’s are treated with respect, recognized for the work they do, and genuinely appreciated for the many ways in which they enrich the lives of women, men and children whose lives need a bit of assistance. The care provided by a Direct Support Professional will support and enrich their lives and the ways in which they able to share their energy, creativity, strength, vision and can-do attitude with their families and friends, their communities and society.
More about PCA’s in Minnesota:
Find the basics of Minnesota Personal Care Attendants here:
Governor Dayton has issued a Proclamation declaring September 11-17 as Direct Support Professionals Week. https://state.mn.us/governor/assets/Direct_Support_Professionals_Week.pdf_tcm1055-94210.pdf
The Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC) at the University of Minnesota sponsors a Direct Support Task Force http://rtc.umn.edu/rtc/