Adult Foster Care Supports Live-In Caregivers

Providing live-in care for a friend or loved one isn’t always easy, but Adult Foster Care is a government-funded program that can help.

Adult Foster Care supports and financially assists live-in caregivers for those who are unable to live alone and are eligible for either MassHealth or Medicaid.


This program is truly wonderful, because many people who are nursing-home eligible would rather live in a residential setting. Live-in caregivers make that possible, but they also need supports to really make it work over the long-term.

That’s where Adult Family Care (AFC) comes in. We’re a non-profit program that provides Adult Foster Care for much of the Greater Boston Area and Merrimack Valley. We’re based out of Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES), the longest-running Area Agency on Aging in Eastern Massachusetts.

SCES was founded more than 40 years ago, as part of a national movement toward giving older adults more options and services for Aging in Place. AFC is a logical outgrowth of that mission, and we take pride in helping live-in caregiver arrangements succeed. Here’s what we offer live-in caregivers:

  • A tax-free stipend of up to $18.550 annually
  • Two-weeks of paid time off annually
  • Ongoing support and training from a nurse and social worker

AFC provides a personalized care plan for applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • Must be 16-plus and
  • unable to live alone and
  • have a chronic medical or psychiatric diagnosis that necessitates assistance with at least one of the following: bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring between positions, ambulating or eating.

For AFC to help, the caregiver must be able to meet those needs and live in the same home as the participant. Friends and family are eligible to become live-in caregivers—but legal guardians and spouses are not. (We would like to see this program become available to spouses, and lawmakers have discussed it in recent years, but efforts on Beacon Hill have fallen short, so far).

About 80% of the people receiving service from AFC know each other. The remainder are matched by the agency, after an extensive vetting process. We know it has to be safe, and we strive to find a match that will work for both parties. And if it isn’t working out, we’ll do our best to find another match that will. Our goal is putting everyone in a position to succeed.

If have questions about becoming a live-in caregiver or the eligibility requirements, visit or give us a call at 617-628-2601. We’re happy to answer your questions.

Source: Jeanne Leyden, Registered Nurse & Director of the Adult Family Care program at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services.