Wisconsin Family Caregiver Support Programs

Nearly everyone will be a caregiver at some point in life.

And nearly everyone will need a little help providing that care.

Being responsible for someone else can feel overwhelming, especially if the role is unexpected or interferes with job responsibilities. This is why Wisconsin offers family members and other informal caregivers programs and education that can make being a caregiver more manageable.

The first phone call that caregivers should make is to the local aging and disability resource center (ADRC). Wisconsin’s ADRCs provide free and unbiased information and assistance to connect families with in-home care providers, respite services and other caregiver resources in the area. ADRC staff is trained to navigate individuals through immediate crises and provide decision-making counseling so that caregivers are able to make informed decisions. ADRC staff can also refer families to professionals that provide legal advice and financial planning services, including information about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Caregiver support programs are available in every community.

To learn which services are available where you live, find your local ADRC.

Statewide Family Caregiver Programs

  • The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) provides services and supports that help family members and informal caregivers, such as a neighbor or friend, care for older adults at home. The NFCSP is available to any person providing care to an adult age 60+. The program prioritizes services to low-income families and older adults with dementia, but one does not have to be low-income or have dementia in order to participate.

The program offers:

  • Information about available services.
  • Assistance with gaining access to services.
  • Individual counseling to deal with depression and stress.
  • Caregiver support groups.
  • Training on providing safe and proper in-home care.
  • Temporary respite services, such as help with bathing, home repairs, snow removal or emergency in-home care.
  • Supplemental services, such as help making minor home modifications or providing adaptive equipment that allows a person to remain living safely at home.
  • The Wisconsin Alzheimer's Family and Caregiver Support Program (AFSCP) is similar to the National Family Caregiver Support Program explained above, but only serves people with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease or dementia.

To be eligible for AFCSP, the care receiver must meet three criteria:

  1. Have a diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease or other dementia
  2. Reside in a community or home setting (not a facility)
  3. Have an income of $48,000 or less (person and spouse)

Typical goods and services that can be provided through the AFCSP include:

  • Respite care or household services.
  • Emergency response and home safety/alarm systems.
  • Home safety modification.
  • Specialized clothing for people with dementia.
  • Activities or hobby supplies.
  • Legal expenses related to establishing guardianship.
  • Caregiver counseling services.
  • Caregiver education classes.
  • Emergency housing and energy assistance.

For help connecting to a caregiver program specialist in your area, contact your local aging and disability resource center or call the toll-free Family Caregiver Helpline at 866-843-9810.

Dementia Care Specialists

Dementia care specialists provide free information and assistance to adults with memory or cognitive concerns, or who have a dementia diagnosis. Dementia care specialists also provide information and support to family members and friends who are providing care to a person with memory concerns. Dementia care specialists are available at select aging and disability resource centers and tribal agencies.

More Resources

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services partners with community organizations across the state to offer additional caregiver support services. Contact your local aging and disability resource center to learn if an organization in your area offers:

Powerful Tools for Caregivers:  This six-week caregiver education class teaches how to avoid injury when lifting a person, stress reduction techniques, and the importance of self-care so that caregivers don't become sick or injured as a result of providing care to someone else. The class teaches skills applicable to all types of caregivers. Contact your local aging and disability resource center to find out if a class is being held in your area.

WisconsinCaregiver.org website: This website provides information to help people better care for their loved ones and themselves. Includes a webpage dedicated to the Wisconsin Family and Caregiving Support Alliance, an informal group of aging and disability organizations who work together to support family caregivers across the lifespan.

Dementia-Friendly Employers Toolkit: This toolkit is designed to provide employers with the knowledge and tools needed to successfully support employees who are caring for someone with dementia.

Respite Care Association of Wisconsin: This organization provides support and advocates for quality systems of respite care for Wisconsin families. They also provide online training, manage a caregiver registry, and offer small respite grants to eligible individuals.

Other Organizations​

Last Revised: November 22, 2019