«Since 1997, I’ve worked as an unpaid caregiver for my family members, and I understand the importance of caregiving on a very personal level.

25 years later, you would think our state’s caregiving industry would be in a better position, but it’s actually harder to find a caregiver since COVID-19. Why? Because many who have put their hearts and souls into this profession have come to the conclusion that the pay isn’t worth the risk, and there is no respect for a job that is at the very foundation of caring for Alaska’s most vulnerable populations. Even the most passionate caregivers can’t get around the fact that doing this work means not being able to financially support our own families.

Now is a critical time for the Senate to use federal infrastructure dollars to invest in home care, so we can be sure that caregivers get paid fairly and are trained properly. I don’t think I’d be wrong in saying that caregiving touches the majority of Alaskans. Why wouldn’t it be prudent to elevate this monumental issue to be included in our federal and state investment?

We need you to stand with us to support seniors, people with disabilities, and children, and to help create good, respectable jobs that pay a living wage and keep Alaskans home in their own communities.»

Read more from Katherine Bacon, a caregiver in Palmer, Alaska, in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman.