Governor Tony Evers signed Executive Order #11 this week that will create a task force focusing on strengthening the direct care workforce and supporting families who are caregivers of loved ones. “Caregivers provide critically important services and are often the unsung heroes, supporting and caring for friends and loved ones so they can stay in their homes and their communities,” said Governor Evers in his Tuesday press release. Members of the task force will include key stakeholders such as legislators, caregivers, respite care providers, employers, and those receiving care.
As the nation’s median age continues to rise with the aging of the Baby Boomer generation coupled with advances in technology and medicine, the need for caregiving is higher than ever. The task force will develop recruiting and retention strategies to build a strong direct care workforce and will also address low wages and benefits in the field.
The cost of unpaid informal caregiving is an astounding $500 billion nationally per year. According to Caregiver Connection, 42% of these informal caregivers are children taking care of one or both of their parents and 15% support a friend, neighbor, or non-relative. The task force will also evaluate ways to support these caregivers with respite services and referral programs.