During uncertain and challenging times, we, residents of the state of Iowa, are fortunate to have several non-profit organizations committed to aggressively addressing a variety of individual and societal needs. I am proud Iowa CareGivers is one of these organizations and it is my privilege to serve as chair of the Board of Directors.
Caregiving has been part of the human experience since its beginning. In recent years, attention to caregivers -paid and unpaid - has continually increased. It is estimated the paid caregiver workforce numbers between 60,000 – 65,000 in Iowa. We know that health and long-term services and supports (LTSS) employers across all direct care worker (DCW) settings continue to face worker shortages and high turnover. That in turn leads to a dramatic impact on DCWs themselves, their families and communities, employers, older Iowans, individuals with disabilities needing care or support and family caregivers. The effect of these shortages is felt by all Iowans.
Iowa CareGivers exists as an independent voice serving the needs of those who work in direct care. Our focus in 2021 will be to: provide education programs and supports for the direct care workforce and where possible include family caregivers; increase awareness and recognition of the essential role DCWs play in maintaining the health and well-being of Iowans; advocate for policies that place a high priority on more consistent and portable education and training as well as a streamlined system and infrastructure that supports this workforce; and conduct specific research needed to impact policies and/or practices pertaining to DCWs. To accomplish these goals, we will need a strong board of directors willing to take on the challenges, a strong direct care professional council to keep us focused on critical worker concerns and additional seasoned advisors from both groups.
The year ahead clearly provides us with multiple challenges. But with those challenges comes unlimited opportunities. Now is the time we must focus our efforts and embrace, in creative ways, the opportunities before us. “Excuses will always be there for us. Opportunity won’t.”
Sincere appreciation to all those who have joined us in recognition and support of Direct Care Workers and the vital roles they play in our society. To those who as of yet have not, I challenge you to get engaged. Now is the time! Direct Care Workers, consumers and our community are counting on us.
Iowa CareGivers Board, Advisors, and Council members, staff, and consultants rolled up their sleeves and “dug in” to plan a “Down to Earth” and impactful future for Iowa CareGivers and the Iowans it serves!
View the photo gallery here!
|Elisabeth Buck, Board Vice Chair
|Kim Downs, Board Secretary
Indian Hills Community College
|Jerry Jenkins, Jr., Board Treasurer
Agency Owner, Farmers Insurance Group
EveryStep Care and Support Services
Affiliates Management Company | Iowa Credit Union League
P.E., Client Director
Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC
|Josephine “Jodi” O’Donnell
|Maribel Slinde, Board Chair
Retired, WesleyLife Home and Community Services
Retired, United Way of Central Iowa
|Nancy Anderson, Advisor
Retired, Aging Resources of Central Iowa
|Tom Carpenter, Advisor
Retired, Grefe & Sidney, P.L.C.
|Dr. Robert Denson, Advisor
President, Des Moines Area Community College
|Betty Grandquist, Advisor
Retired, Iowa Department of Elder Affairs and Iowa Family Caregiver Program
|Anne Kinzel, Advisor
Iowa State University
|Deanna Lehl, Advisor
Retired, Family Nurse Practitioner
|Ivan Lyddon, Advisor
Retired, Iowa Health Foundation
Charlotte Nelson, Advisor
|Shirley Sorenson, Advisor
Retired, Des Moines Area Community College