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Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson met today with family caregivers and older adults in Mankato to highlight portions of Gov. Mark Dayton’s Reform 2020 budget package that ensure the sustainability of long-term services and supports for Minnesota’s growing aging population.
“Reform 2020 is a bipartisan effort designed to meet the challenges of rising health care costs and a growing aging population while providing Minnesotans the services they need to lead fulfilling lives,” Jesson said. “The governor’s budget proposals build on our strategy to help seniors and people with disabilities be as independent as they can be with real choices about their lives. Low-cost, high-impact services that support this goal can prevent or delay the use of more costly services such as nursing homes.”
As part of the governor’s Reform 2020 budget package, $4.3 million will be invested next biennium to ensure older Minnesotans have access to home and community-based services no matter where they live. These include services like the caregiver respite program Jesson visited in North Mankato sponsored by non-profit VINE Faith in Action.
“I consider these family caregivers my heroes, and we try to do everything we can to support the work they do,” said Pam Determan, executive director of VINE Faith in Action, which coordinates volunteers and services to assist older people and individuals with health needs in Blue Earth and Nicollet counties. “It is imperative that people have access to these kinds of services to meet their needs as they age and as they face life’s challenges.”
Jesson also visited the Mankato home of Marlys Jorgenson, who, with her husband, has benefited from VINE’s chore and home modification services. In December, the Jorgenson’s washing machine and dryer were moved from the basement to the main level, allowing them to remain safely in their home.
“VINE is very important to me and I appreciate everything they do,” said Jorgenson. “I was so thankful they did this work for me because I couldn’t get up and down the stairs anymore to do the laundry.”
The governor’s proposal funds a statewide study to identify areas where there are critical access needs for seniors as well as increases grant funding and technical assistance to local providers like VINE Faith in Action to help them address service gaps.