How Adult Foster Care provides family caregiver support

Angela Clary is a licensed clinical social worker and outreach specialist for Adult Family Care

Family caregivers do amazing work every day, helping loved ones receive the care they need at home. It’s not an easy job, but Adult Foster Care is a great MassHealth-funded program that provides family caregiver support for eligible homes.

Having been part of an Adult Foster Care program the past few months, I have seen firsthand how it can change lives by providing compensation, training and paid time off for friend or family caregivers. A son providing dementia care for his mother; a daughter passionate about continuing her tradition of a close extended family; a sister convinced she is providing better care than a nursing home—these are real examples of where Adult Foster Care can make a difference.

I have also met many people who are not familiar with the program, so I thought it might be helpful to outline the basics:

Eligibility Adult Foster Care helps adults (16 and up) who require daily assistance and cannot live alone due to a medical diagnosis. Participants must be eligible for MassHealth Standard or CommonHealth, or be part of a Senior Care Options (SCO) plan, a One Care plan, or PACE. There are no out-of-pocket costs for participants.

Caregivers must be able to meet daily care needs of the participant and program guidelines, and they must live in the same home as the person receiving care. Caregivers are usually family or friends, but cannot be a spouse or legal guardian.

Benefits include a personalized care plan, a tax-free stipend and two weeks paid time off for caregivers, and ongoing support and training from a Registered Nurse and Care Manager.

One last note: studies have repeatedly shown that roughly 90 percent of people who require daily assistance prefer to receive it in a home setting. Adult Foster Care can be a great option for friends and family who prefer that route.

Angela Clary is a licensed clinical social worker and outreach specialist for Adult Family Care (AFC), a local Adult Foster Care provider that supports in-home caregivers across the Greater Boston, North Shore, and Merrimack Valley areas. AFC is a program of Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services, a non-profit dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of older adults and people with disabilities. For more information, visit adultfamilycare.org or call 617-628-2601.