Caregiver shortages in Northwoods affect growing elderly populationSubmitted: 06/14/2019
Dan Hagen
Dan Hagen

Caregiver shortages in Northwoods affect growing elderly population
EAGLE RIVER - Stores like Kwik Trip and McDonald's usually start workers at above $10 per hour. This is a wage that many senior living centers in the Northwoods just can't match.

Amy Lemke of Milestone Senior Living has a severe employee shortage right now. She said low wages are a big factor, and employees often leave after they've trained enough to get another job.

"You have all of these elders that need the assistance and there are times, depending on what kind of assistance they have, that if we're that short-staffed it's not fair and it's not right to accept them in and promise to take care of them," said Lemke.

Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) was among those attending an Elder Abuse Awareness seminar today in Eagle River. He hopes the upcoming budget will improve things.

"I'm in high hopes that the money that is set aside will help some of the problems they face today," said Swearingen. "Hopefully it will increase some of the wages here in the Northwoods."

The Joint Finance Committee finished its version of the budget proposal Thursday. It will work its way through the senate and assembly before getting to Governor Evers's desk.

According to a Northwoods social worker, next year the elderly population will be 40 percent of the population in Vilas County.

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