Family caregivers have come under increasing stress during the pandemic. Helen Marks Dicks with AARP Wisconsin estimates there are 600,000 family caregivers in Wisconsin – and the pandemic has caused an increase in family members needing to step in, for two reasons.
“Number one, you can’t get the kind of help with people coming into the house. And number two, at some particular point if you get too overwhelmed, nursing home or assisted living is a option, and because of the death rates and the infection rates in those facilities, you just can’t do that.”
AARP Wisconsin is urging lawmakers to pass two bills that would support caregivers. One is the Wisconsin Credit for Caring Act and the other is the Caregiver Advise, Record, and Enable Act. Marks Dicks said both could be implemented at relatively low cost to the state.
“Almost everybody is caring for somebody in their family. They’ve been a caregiver, they will be a caregiver, it’s kind of nonpartisan. And some of the recommendations are not particularly expensive. I think that there’s going to have to be a response to the pandemic that is bipartisan, and caregiving is one of the areas where there is bipartisan interest.”