What is Fam­ily Care?

Wisconsin Gazette - - Front Page -

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

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