Caregiver shortage impacts those with disabilities

Marvin Berry Jr.
Posted at 4:42 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 19:40:56-05

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — The labor shortage is impacting the disabled community as they're struggling to find caregivers.

Marvin Berry Jr. has posted fliers, and he even went to a local nursing school asking if he could hire some of their students.

He was accidentally shot by another person as a child. "I’m gonna be honest, my birthday was September the third, and I never expected 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 some days, recently it's been impossible to find someone to help 24/7.

Berry gets 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 make more in the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A," Berry said.

The labor shortage is leaving many people like him stranded. "Right now I’ve been depending on some people, good friends and family, to come over here when they’re off work to help me shower whenever I can, it’s definitely thrown a wrench in my life," Berry said.

Due to the problem, TennCare announced that $400 million will go toward solving these issues. A spokesperson said caregiver wage increases will be retroactive to July 1, 2021.

"When the pay increases, it will feel so good to be able to hire valuable caregivers and be able to pay them a competitive wage," Berry said.

Coincidently, Berry is one of the reasons state law changed. At first, his only option was a nursing home. Years ago, his class-action lawsuit helped pave the way for the home caregiver program he's in today.

"It’s not like going in working on a machine, they’re actually your arms and legs, and without them, you can’t accomplish your day," Berry said.

On Saturday at Hop Springs Beer Park, the community is doing a fundraiser for Berry so he can pay caregivers more.

Music for Marvin
Music for Marvin

He also has a GoFundMe page where you can read more about his story.