NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — Residents and caregivers at the Autumn Lake Retirement Community in New Britain argue that more can be done to raise the level of care.

That includes better working conditions for the certified nursing assistants, according to advocates who addressed Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Monday.

“They’re not waitresses, they’re not bringing you a cheeseburger or hamburger,” said Lois Bardeck, a Autumn Lake resident. “They really have to do jobs that I wouldn’t want to do.”

Verna Redwood, a CNA, said she has been at the retirement community for more than 25 years, and has made more than $20 an hour in wages.

“We are doing the toileting, we are giving them a shower, we are getting them dressed and we’re feeding them,” she said. “That is all they need? No, they need a lot more. They need us to cut their nails, lotion their feet, shave them, so much other stuff.”

The advocates said it’s a delicate balance to consider the quality of care and quality of life the community would like to provide. It’s why they’re stressing how crucial funding is to bring in more workers.

“Heightened standards without increased funding is futile, because we need to make the investment in the people doing the care,” Blumenthal said.

The senator said it’s been a year since President Joe Biden promised better standards of care. Blumenthal is pushing for Medicaid and Medicare services to act quickly, stating that the standards are needed now.

“Creating a higher standard and funding will do right by both the residents and the caregivers, also, and be able to actually create a profession where people want to come and give their best,” said Suzanne Clark, with Service Employees International Union 1199.