MURFREESBORO, Tennessee (WTVF) – The labor shortage is impacting the disability community as it struggles to find caregivers.
Marvin Berry Jr. posted flyers and even went to a local nursing school to ask if he could hire some of his students.
He was accidentally shot dead by another person as a child. “I’ll be honest, my birthday was September 3 and I didn’t expect to live to be 49,” Berry said.
Due to the injury, he was paralyzed. He now depends on caregivers like Mike to help him. While Berry has Mike on some days, recently it has been impossible to find someone to help 24/7.
Berry obtains funding through the state’s First CHOICES program. “No one wants to help me shower, shave, get dressed for $ 13 an hour when they can earn more in the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A,” Berry said. .
The labor shortage leaves many like him stranded. “Right now I depended on certain people, good friends and family, to come here when they weren’t working to help me take a shower whenever I could, it definitely changed my life,” Berry said.
Due to the issue, TennCare has announced that $ 400 million will be spent on resolving these issues. A spokesperson said salary increases for caregivers would be retroactive to July 1, 2021.
“When the salary goes up, it will be so nice to be able to hire valuable caregivers and be able to pay them a competitive salary,” said Berry.
Coincidentally, Berry is one of the reasons state law has changed. At first, his only option was a retirement home. Years ago, his class action lawsuit helped pave the way for the home help program he participates in today.
“It’s not like going to work on a machine, it’s actually your arms and legs, and without them you can’t get through your day,” Berry said.
On Saturday at Hop Springs Beer Park, the community is hosting a fundraiser for Berry so he can pay caregivers more.
It also has a GoFundMe page where you can read more about its history.