meme photo of two people hugging with phrase you might be a caregiver ifRead the Governor’s Proclamation of Family Caregiver Month here

The Arc Wisconsin celebrates family caregivers during November’s National Family Caregiver Month while also recognizing that caregivers are in crisis. A recent Wisconsin survey outlines both the significant contributions and stress on caregivers.

The June survey of more than 500 caregivers was conducted by the Wisconsin Family and Caregiver Support Alliance (WFACSA), co-chaired by The Arc Wisconsin.

73% of caregivers reported they are not meeting their own personal needs; nearly two-thirds worry about balancing the needs of their other children and other family members; three-quarters say they are tired or worn out all the time.

“Caregivers also told us about the positive impacts of their role, including their own increased empathy, closeness in their family or their strength as an advocate,” says Lisa Pugh, The Arc Wisconsin’s Director. “Wisconsin relies on family caregivers who provide the majority of caregiving to older adults, people with disabilities and other family members. We must figure out a way to honor their role and increase awareness about caregiver needs.”

In Wisconsin, it is estimated that 578,000 caregivers[1] provide more than 538 million hours of unpaid care valued at over $7 billion each year. Many family caregivers say they’d like help but cannot find respite care, direct care workers or other supports.

You can read the full results of the Wisconsin caregiver survey here.

The Arc Wisconsin is currently serving as co-chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Caregiving that is charged with making recommendations to address Wisconsin’s caregiving and direct care workforce crisis, including analyzing strategies to attract and retain a strong direct care workforce and to support family caregivers. The next meeting of the Task Force is November 18 in Green Bay. You can stay up to date on the work of the Task Force here: https://gtfc.wisconsin.gov/

[1] Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update, AARP Public Policy Institute, July 2015.