What is Family Care?
n studies conducted by the AARP Public Policy Institute, it is estimated that by 2030, 20% of the US population will be 65 years old or older (72.7 million adults), and 90% of those Americans 65 or older say they want to remain independent and in their communities for as long as possible. According to a report published by
The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine entitled “Families Caring for an Aging America (September 2016), it is estimated that “At least 17.7 million individuals in the United States are family caregivers of someone age 65 and older who has a significant impairment”. This is true for many Wisconsinites who are providing support and care to an adult with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Physical Disabilities, or an older adult with limitations in physical, mental, or cognitive functions. These are the parents, children, spouses or even friends of the caregiver, and the challenge faced by them is navigating through a variety of complex systems and organizations to make sure the right care is coordinated for, and provided to their loved one. In 2000, the concept of Family Care was introduced in Wisconsin as a state-funded Medicaid program offering services to foster independence and quality of life for members while recognizing the need for support. It was clear that seniors and adults with disabilities could have a higher quality of life in more integrated community settings, if they just had some help in coordinating the required care plan. From in-home nursing and adult day care to assisted living and certified residential facilities, one of the goals of the program has always been to offer more choices, tailored to specific needs, and geared toward each person’s individual goals.
The Family Care program was an opportunity to show that people can be better supported—physically and emotionally—if they have choices and connections within their own community. The natural support system of