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National Family Caregivers Month: CIP to address national crisis at webinar Nov. 10.

Caregiver Incentive Project founder Eric Paad, along with his wife Alice and daughter Dorothy, are pictured. The CIP is a nonprofit organization founded in 2019 and aims to increase the number of in-home caregivers in the United States. (Photo courtesy of Eric Paad, CIP founder and president)

MARQUETTE — November is National Family Caregivers Month and one local organization is stepping up to raise awareness on the matter.

The Caregiver Incentive Project (CIP) is a nonprofit organization founded by Eric Paad in 2019 and aims to help address the national shortage of paid in-home caregivers for the elderly, disabled and anyone else who may need someone to assist with everyday life.

Paad considers the situation to be a national crisis, and based on research and statistics, he’s correct.

According to a 2015 report by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, approximately 43.5 million caregivers provide unpaid care to an adult or child over a 12 month span. 34.2 million Americans provide unpaid care to adults aged 50 and older.

In a 2010 report from Dr. Joseph F. Coughlin, it’s stated that 39.8 million caregivers provide care to adults aged 18 and older with a disability or illness, which accounts for 16.6 percent of Americans.

The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute stated in 2019 that there will be 7.8 million direct care openings from 2016 to 2026, based on projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“There’s a national caregiver shortage,” Paad said. “It’s truly a national crisis which affects us right here. We need to get the word out and make people aware of this crisis before the day they need to care for mom, dad or another loved one.”

Paad, along with his wife Alice, are caregivers for their 30-year-old daughter Dorothy, who has a disability.

“That’s how I found out about the crisis,” Paad said. (Alice) and I looked for caregivers to help, and it’s truly shocking and heartbreaking with the lack of caregivers and lack of quality of some caregivers.

“One of the things that shocked me is that there’s no training required to be an in-home caregiver. That sets up caregivers to fail.”

Paad said that for the amount of work caregivers do, it comes as a surprise that there is no training required.

“There’s a lot of things that go into it,” he said. “It’s not even recognized as a career, there’s no standardized training and you can’t go to NMU and get a degree for it. The pay is very low because it’s left up to the companies. If you don’t have the proper training, you’re set up for failure. There’s no support system and you don’t have recognition that you’re doing a very valuable service.

“The No. 1 thing I would like to do is recognize caregiving as a career and contribute to society by caring for the most vulnerable. It’s not easy caring for someone else’s loved one. Some people say it’s just daycare for the elderly. It’s a lot more than that, and it’s an insult to even say that.

“If you said you were going to fly an airplane tomorrow, they wouldn’t just put you in the cockpit without training.”

CIP will be hosting a virtual panel titled “Solving the In-Home Caregiver Crisis” on Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. with a goal of raising $10,000 by Giving Tuesday on Dec. 1. The money will go toward expanding CIP’s scholarship program.

The webinar will be moderated by WLUC-TV6 morning news anchor Andrew LaCombe, and panelists include Eric and Dorothy, certified elder law attorney and CIP board member Angela Hentkowski and Lake Superior Life Care and Hospice CEO Jennifer Voegtline. Each panelist will share personal and professional stories and will help to provide a better understanding of the caregiver crisis. The session will also provide ways for attendees to be part of the solution.

Paad said $4,600 has been raised so far out of its $10,000 target, and encourages people to join the fight.

“Join in, it’s not if you’ll be touched, it’s when you’ll be touched by this crisis,” he said. “That’s why I want people to join in. We want to raise money and we want people to be part of our volunteer organization. You can donate yo our scholarship and student debt repayment program to help. You can learn more about those kinds of things and how we’re trying to work with high schools and colleges to try and get caregiving to be a recognized career.

“The bottom line is, I want people to be aware that this is a national crisis and it will affect all of us if we don’t solve it now. There’s no warning. It could be as early as tomorrow that you might need a caregiver in your life. It could affect you a lot quicker than you think and that’s what I’d like people to put in their thoughts. Don’t wait, start now and help us fix the system.

“There are caregivers who are angels on earth, but at minimum wage, they burn out.”

To register for the webinar, visit the following link at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3449949039859831565. Registration is free.

For more information on the Caregiver Incentive Project and its initiatives, visit www.the-cip.com or find them on Facebook.

The Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress has also launched the Upper Peninsula Caregiver Resource Center which features resources for caregivers, upcoming classes and workshops, a blog and other support programs and services to help caregivers. The resource center can be found at www.upcap.org or caregivers can dial 2-1-1 for more information.

Ryan Spitza can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. His email address is rspitza@miningjournal.net.

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