Article by Heidi Russell, Shawano County Human Services

Maybe it started slowly. You visited your parents and started to worry about them living alone. You found yourself taking over more of the responsibilities for your spouse. Maybe it happened all of a sudden. Mom slipped and broke her hip. The neighbors called to say that dad was wandering around looking lost. However it began, you are now a family caregiver. And you are not alone – there are 90 million family caregivers across the country. Nearly one-third of the U.S. adult population are caregivers, providing an average of 20 hours of care per week – with some providing care around the clock. You need information, education, and tools that can help you manage the daunting tasks you face. When you become a family caregiver for the first time, you can feel overwhelmed and hardly know where to start.

There is help and support out there for you in our community – you just need to reach out for the support. There are a variety of places you are able to receive support including locally. Caregiver support and resources are at both Shawano County Human Services – Aging Unit (715-526-4686) and the ADRC of the Wolf River Region (855- 492-2372) offer both support and options to make your experience better and healthier. There are resources, literature, support groups and ideas to support you caring for your loved one.

A new option is coming to all 6 Shawano County Libraries – Care Giver Resource Bags made by a joint effort of the ADRC of the Wolf River Region, Shawano County Human Services – Aging Unit and the Forget Me Not Fund. The bags have a variety of resources which can help a person on their journey. What is best is if you find a resource which is extremely helpful, you can decide to keep it. There is no fine for not returning all of the items. Simply follow the instructions on the card so we can replace the items and the return the bag and remaining contents. Along side is a photo of the bag and resources.

Another place to find support is the Trualta Website. Trualta ( supports families managing care for loved ones at home via an online learning platform. To Register: Visit and click on the “Trualta” banner on the main page. “Caregiving is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so making time for in-person training and education can be difficult, even during normal times,” said Jane Mahoney, Caregiver Support Specialist, Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources. “Our partnership with Trualta provides an alternative for education and training that people can access whenever it works for them.”

In Wisconsin, family caregiving is expanding rapidly. By 2040, the 65+ population will grow by 640,000 – an increase of 72% – according to The Governor’s Task Force on Caregiving Report released in 2020. The tasks caregivers are expected to perform have become more medically complicated, making preparation and access to reliable training increasingly important.

“Our goal is to equip family caregivers earlier so that they are better prepared. Most people find themselves responsible for the care of another person with little warning. In the midst of a global pandemic, we realize that caregivers need easy access to innovative resources that complement the training, emotional support and respite services provided by Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) and health care providers,” said Lynn Gall, Family Caregiver Support Programs Manager, Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Anyone caring for an older adult can benefit from Trualta’s support, whether they are seeking personal care training, safety and fall prevention tips, help caring for a person with dementia, caregiver wellness ideas, or other support.

Forget Me Not Fund