The Soapbox: Paid caregivers deserve a living wage

People with disabilities are in crisis and looking for care.

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Stand up. Speak up. It’s your turn.

We are in crisis. It has become nearly impossible to find paid caregivers. Every day people with disabilities and older adults across our state are stuck in their beds or chairs, are left to go hungry or in their own filth because those who might help them just can’t afford to.

Solving the current crisis means considering the demographics. According to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator a single-parent household in NH with one child needs to earn $30.07/hr. just to afford the basics like rent, food and clothes. Most paid caregivers are young women. Many are single mothers.

In a meeting with the Quality Council, Lori Shibinette, the commissioner of the NH Department of Health and Human Services, revealed the department’s plan to address the current crisis. They want to invite potential care workers from out of state to visit at the department’s expense. In her imagination, once they demonstrate the natural beauty and low taxes in our state, people will come flooding in to work for $13/hr.

She’s meeting with Taylor Caswell of the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs to share her “plan.” Hopefully, Mr. Caswell has a better handle on basic macroeconomics and can explain the lunacy of this idea. A rudimentary education tells us if you need to make $30/hr. to provide for your household $13/hr. isn’t going to cut it. It’s certainly not going to tempt you to move your family from a different state

The only way out of this crisis – THE ONLY WAY – is to pay a competitive living wage. The state must work with the organizations that hire direct care workers to make this happen.

Beg to differ? Agree to disagree? Thoughtful prose on topics of general interest are welcome. Send submissions to, subject line: The Soapbox

Patricia Vincent-PietPatricia Vincent-Piet lives in Concord and is CEO of Able Writer.