Adult Family Care Embraces Challenges of Changing Lives

Helping friends and family care for a loved one at home is a mainstay of the Adult Family Care (AFC) program. But sometimes we assist people who need care by introducing them to somebody who can help.

In those cases, AFC is often able to connect qualified caregivers with those who need live-in support. While this creates the additional challenges of screening both participants to make sure the match will work, we find that it’s time well spent, because it can dramatically changes lives for the better.

One example is Joseph, a 61-year-old from the Greater Boston Area who receives care through AFC. He was living with friends, but found himself homeless after they relocated in 2014. With nowhere else to go, Joseph stayed at a homeless shelter for several months, before he was hospitalized for low blood pressure.

Joseph and Marie Ann
Joseph (right) was temporarily homeless before meeting his live-in caregiver, Marie Ann, through the Adult Family Care (AFC) program. Roughly 10% of people receiving services through AFC met through the program.

Fortunately Joseph was referred to AFC while in the hospital, and we connected him with a caregiver shortly after.

“I didn’t know what I was getting into,” said Joseph. “But it turned out to be the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

AFC arranged for Joseph to move in with a caregiver named Marie Ann, a former nursing assistant who left the workforce in 2008 to care for her sick mother, with support from AFC. Though her mother has since passed away Marie Ann discovered she likes being a caregiver and has stuck with it.

“I love what I do,” she said. “Joe is a great man and he’s fun to be with.”

As a non-profit program dedicated to supporting and financially assisting caregivers, we love these success stories, and roughly 10 percent of our current caregivers are helping people they met through our program.

Our number one priority in these scenarios is ensuring the partnership succeeds. Our nurses and social workers have an extensive review process that takes many factors into account, all with the goal of ensuring the match is both safe and happy for both parties. And if it seems the match isn’t working we go back the drawing board to find another one that will.

AFC is MassHealth/Medicaid funded, and we can help eligible people who are unable to live alone. We also provide caregivers with financial assistance, training, and ongoing support to help overcome the challenges they face.

Our mission is ensuring that elders and people with disabilities are able to live in a supportive family setting that fosters the best quality of life for themselves and their caregivers. We’re happy to go that extra mile to make it happen.

Source: By Jeanne Leyden, Adult Family Care Program Director