Letter to the Editor
I’m a caregiver in Glasgow. I’ve lived in the Glasgow area all but three years of my life. As a caregiver my work allows elderly and disabled people to stay in their homes. Many of the folks I care for are people I’ve known since I was a child. They know they can count on me to help them do what they cannot do for themselves.
I’m writing because our legislators in Helena are planning to cut $93 million dollars out of the Senior Long Term Care and Development Disability Services. If these cuts go through they will have dramatic consequences for caregivers, our clients and our community.
Many caregivers are single mothers with children that have to rely on public assistance programs like CHIP and food stamps. Many of us struggle to pay our full rent or utilities on time, so we juggle which bills we pay first. If these cuts go through it means our clients will have less time for their care. It means less income for us and more reliance on state assistance. It means less access to programs like Meals on Wheels for our seniors and programs like Action for Eastern Montana that helps with childcare for working families.
I’ve worked in nursing homes and at the hospital and I can tell you that considering the hard physical work and long hours the wages are not enough to provide for our families. The work takes a toll on the body and the turnover is a constant battle. If these cuts go through it will become that much harder to keep good staff, and fewer hands to do the work.
Last month I went to Helena to talk with our legislators about what these cuts would mean for the seniors in our community. They assured me that they would stand with us and restore these cuts. That has not happened, and in fact our budget has suffered more cuts since then. We need more than just lip service, we need them to act. Please call the capital switchboard and make your voice heard as well. (406) 444-4800. Tell our local Representatives from Glasgow, Austin Knudsen and Casey Knudsen, to restore the cuts to Senior Long Term Care and Developmental Disabilities Services.
– Connie Sharp