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The Arc Wisconsin celebrates family caregivers during November’s Family Caregiver Month while also recognizing that caregivers are in crisis. In Wisconsin, it is estimated that 580,000 caregivers provide more than 538 million hours of unpaid care valued at over $6.9 billion each year. Many family caregivers say they’d like help but cannot find respite care, direct care workers or other supports.
Family caregivers often help a loved one with a variety of tasks from grocery shopping and chores to doctor visits, meal preparation and complex medical cares.
“In 2021 we hope state policymakers will prioritize the needs of family caregivers and implement recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Caregiving,” says Lisa Pugh, The Arc Wisconsin’s Director and Co-Chair of the Task Force. “The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the workload of family caregivers, and many are reducing their work hours or having to quit their jobs entirely.
Surveys of caregivers during the pandemic have also indicated increased stress and mental health concerns.
The Task Force recommended several proposals to provide relief to family caregivers. You can find them here: https://gtfc.wisconsin.gov/gtfcfiles/docs/gtfc-report.pdf
“We encourage all Wisconsinites to take time out this month to recognize the family caregivers in their family and community and simply thank them,” says Pugh.
Governor Evers issued a proclamation recognizing November as Family Caregiver Month. It states that this month is a time to celebrate caregivers for their contributions and sacrifices in service to the health and well-being of family members.