November is Family Caregiver Month: It’s Time to Fight the Invisible Epidemic
An invisible epidemic has been slowly raging across Wisconsin affecting approximately one in five Wisconsinites (1.18M people) who are estimated to be an unpaid caregiver. During November we recognize family caregivers who provide 80 percent of all care for people with disabilities, older adults and others throughout Wisconsin. Conservative estimates show 1 in 4 caregivers providing more than 40 hours of unpaid care a week (with many underreporting). The total value of this care is estimated at $490 million.
This November the state recognizes the contributions of family caregivers while also pleading with policymakers for relief. Disability and aging advocates are unveiling a new video – Wisconsin’s Family Caregiver Crisis: The State’s Invisible Epidemic – featuring the stories of family caregivers throughout the state. Watch the trailer here
Many caregivers want to provide this care, but it is increasingly challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated strain on family caregivers who have been forced to leave their jobs or put their own health at risk to continue providing care. Half of caregivers report cutting back their work or volunteer hours. If they continue to work, they often take lower-level positions to fit around their caregiving responsibilities. This puts a caregiver’s financial future at risk; lost income due to family caregiving is estimated to be a staggering $522 billion each year. Family caregivers spend an average of nearly $7,000 a year of their own money to support their loved one. Read Full Press Release
 2020 RAISE Family Caregiver report; (Chari, Engberg, Ray, & Mehrotra, 2015).