Gov. Tim Walz: One Minnesota Requires an Age-Friendly Lens

Governor Tim Walz joined the LeadingAge Minnesota Institute & Expo last week to present the Caregiver of the Year Award, express his appreciation for professional caregivers and share his vision for an Age-Friendly Minnesota.  

“I often talk about One Minnesota. It doesn’t mean we all agree on everything, but it means there is a place for everybody,” said Governor Tim Walz. “If we are truly going to be One Minnesota, an Age-Friendly State, a decision focused through that lens is going to matter. One of the biggest things we can do is to lift up this industry (aging services) and, more importantly, lift up the individuals to make this happen.”

Governor Walz shared his remarks at the opening session of the 2020 Institute & Expo, which was attended by more than 4,500 people. He presented the Caregiver of the Year Award to Amanda Gruber, Household Coordinator  at Three Links in Northfield and shared his appreciation for caregiving, our work on safety, respect and  dignity in our settings   and the reality that lies before Minnesota as it prepares for the aging boom that’s to come.

In his remarks, Governor Walz shared that his mom, Darlene, was a caregiver in a long-term care setting and he knows and values the compassion she showed every day in her work.

“Caregiving is an absolutely essential and noble profession. Your capacity to show kindness and to allow our family members to age with dignity is something to be incredibly proud of,” said Governor Walz.

Governor Walz also recognized that Minnesota has crossed a major milestone: for the first time in our state’s history we now have more people age 65 and older than under the age of 18.

“We all know the reality of aging. We need to understand how it impacts everything we do, from how our cities and transportation systems work to how we think and do things to make sure our communities remain accessible and welcoming for seniors,” Governor Walz said.

Governor Walz also recognized the collaborative work that took place to pass the 2019 Assisted Living and Older Adult Protection Act and credited aging services providers for their role in that achievement.

“It was the industry that brought this forward and it was the industry that said ‘we want to make sure that everyone in our facilities is cared for with dignity’,” Governor Walz said. “You helped bring together advocates, legislators and others to pass legislation that will ensure the work that you do and that the public understands how much you care. I am grateful for that.”

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