Wisconsin seeing shortage in assisted living caregivers - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wisconsin seeing shortage in assisted living caregivers

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MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) -

There is a staffing shortage at assisted living homes across the state, and a local advocacy group is working with state lawmakers to try and find a solution.

According to a report released earlier this year by the Wisconsin Health Care Association, as many as one in seven positions are unfilled.

"It's been extremely difficult to find caregivers that are qualified that choose to stay for a length of time," said Margaret Budimlija, owner of Acorn Hills Assisted Living in Mosinee.

"There's also a number of assisted livings in our local area that are having to make choices to not make admissions," added Tammy Paige of the Central Wisconsin Caregiver's Advocacy Group. "Or are closing their doors because we don't have the people."

A big reason behind the shortage is that the role of a caregiver has becoming a transitional job.

"There's a lot of people going for their higher education right away," Paige said. "So people are wanting to be that registered nurse or doctor, and the caregiver fields that work up to that are lacking because of that."

Another culprit: low senior care reimbursement in Wisconsin.

"It makes it hard to offer competitive wages," said Paige.

Assisted living managers are desperate for more help so they can better focus on the well-being of residents.

"They're all my friends," said Betty Adams, a resident at Renaissance Assisted Living in Weston. "I need their smiles. And then I'm happy and I smile too."

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