MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The fastest growing group of people in the state of Minnesota are those 65 and older.

The Minnesota Department of Health predicts – in this decade alone – the number of seniors will be greater than the four past decades combined.  As the aging population grows, one Maple Grove Business owner is making caring for them his top priority.

Jim Pitzner left the world of sales after nearly 20 years to give back to seniors around the community.  He now oversees Home Instead Senior Care in Ramsey County, and that’s what makes him a Minnesotan to Meet. Pitzner is the owner and president of the Maplewood and Mendota Heights franchise offices.

He says the goal of this type of attention isn’t just to help out around the house, but also to provide companionship.

“I think seniors can feel isolated and alone in their own home. We are there providing support and companionship,” said Jim Pitzner.

Pitzner knows from experience. He spent his entire college career at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse helping elderly patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“Those stories of those clients were kind of burned into my memory,” he said in his Maplewood office.

It’s why after two decades of sales he decided it was time to take a path toward his true calling.

“I think there is a misconception with what home care can provide,” he said, “We are certainly increasing their quality of life and providing respite for families.”

This is the type of service Home Instead Senior Care provides, one-on-one attention to the people who need it most.

“She takes very good care of me, she’s a treasure beyond measure,” said Helen Soderbeck, a senior who lives in Maplewood.

Nancy Waterfield is Helen Soderbeck’s CAREgiver. She helps the Maplewood senior around the house with her day to day needs like grocery shopping and cooking.

“She’s a real gourmet,” said Soderbeck.

“I do everything she tells me,” said CAREgiver Nancy Waterfield. “She taught me how to pound deer meat. Her sons catch it, I’ve never done that before.”

Waterfield has even learned the trick to the perfect part from Helen, who is a former hairdresser.

“Our clients are so appreciative of what we do and we hear it all the time,” said Pitzner.

The personal care aide job category is the second fastest-growing job group in the nation, with more than two million jobs anticipated by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pitzner said now more than ever there is a real need for more caregivers. Your helping our national treasure our senior population, the memories and the experiences they have they need to be celebrated.”

The Home Instead Senior Care locations across the Greater Twin Cities and Central Minnesota hired more than 400 CAREGivers last year. Pitzner said they are actively recruiting.