Task Force Working On Caregiver Relief

Nov 19, 2019

Credit army.mil

Governor Tony Evers proclaimed November as Family Caregiver Month, but an advocate says much more needs to be done for people who are caregivers.

Lisa Pugh is Director of The Arc Wisconsin, part of a national group that advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Pugh says caregivers are in a crisis in the state...

"...Some people estimate about 80 percent of all caregiving is done by family members. Part of that is because we have a direct-care workforce crisis. Which means the people who might be paid to give caregiving, we just don't have enough of them..."

Pugh says the bulk of care falls on family members which includes the full range of care someone requires. She says there's extra ordinary stress on caregivers...

"A lot of caregivers are working outside the home. What we see in our surveys is that a lot of caregivers, some have had to give up their jobs entirely. A lot have reduced their hours at work or their missing work and their worried about losing their jobs because of the amount of time they're caregiving..."

She says another concern is a large portion of population is growing into an age where more care is needed...

"...Our state is again more rapidly than other states. We have more Baby Boomers going into retirement. A lot of people going into that 60-and-over category and not as many young people entering the workforce or being born and staying in our state. That means there's fewer people to do that caregiving work...."

Pugh is on a Governor's Task Force on Caregiving which is exploring ways that can help paid workers and making sure families can get the respite care. She says county Aging and Disability Resource Centers can be a good place for people to find out what is available.

She says the more ways we can support caregivers either through public policy or doing a favor for a neighbor is what they hope will happen during November.

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