Aging: Family Caregiver Support Programs

Most people will be a caregiver at some point in their life. Though caring for another is important and often rewarding, it also can be overwhelming. You may not expect to become a caregiver. It may interfere with your job or other routines. The good news is that support is available.

Wisconsin offers resources for caregivers, both family and friends. There are support programs in every community that make it easier to manage your role.

Your aging and disability resource center (ADRC)

As a caregiver, first call your local ADRC.

Find the ADRC near me

These centers serve the public. They offer free, unbiased information. They also help with issues that affect older adults, people with disabilities, and their families. ADRCs can connect you with services, such as:

  • Adult day care.
  • Caregiver education and online training.
  • Financial planning.
  • In-home care providers.
  • Legal advice.
  • Respite services.

ADRC staff is trained to walk people through a crisis. They also offer decision-making counseling. This helps you make the most informed decisions for the person in your care.

Wisconsin family caregiver programs

There are two main programs that offer help for caregivers. They serve the entire state of Wisconsin. To learn more and find a caregiver program specialist in your area, contact your ADRC. You can also visit Wisconsin’s Family Caregiver Support Programs.

National Family Caregiver Support Program

This program offers online and in-person services. These services help family and friends care for older adults at home. To participate in the program, you must be:

  • A caregiver for an adult aged 60 or older.
  • A grandparent or other relative aged 55 or older who is the main caregiver for youth under age 18.
  • The primary caregiver of an adult with a severe disability.

The program prioritizes low-income families and older adults with dementia, but caregivers of people living with any condition may qualify.

The program offers:

  • Caregiver education, support groups and self-care.
  • Help to access services.
  • Information about service options.
  • One-on-one counseling to deal with stress and depression.
  • Temporary respite services, such as:
    • Bathing.
    • Grocery shopping.
    • Meal preparation.
    • Snow removal.
    • Transportation.
  • Training on how to give safe and proper in-home care.
  • Extra services, such as:
    • Adaptive equipment that allows a person to stay living safely at home.
    • Help with minor home modifications.
    • Personal protective equipment.

Alzheimer’s Family and Caregiver Support Program

This program is like the National Family Caregiver Support Program but is only for people with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

To join the Alzheimer’s Family and Caregiver Support Program, the person receiving care must:

  • Have an Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia diagnosis.
  • Have an annual income (care recipient and spouse) of $48,000 per year or less.
  • Live in a community or home setting (not a facility).

The program can provide:

  • Activity or hobby supplies.
  • Adult day care.
  • Caregiver counseling and self-care services.
  • Caregiver education and support groups.
  • Emergency response and home safety/alarm systems.
  • Home chore services.
  • Home safety services.
  • In-home respite care.
  • Legal expenses for setting up guardianship.
  • Personal protective equipment.
  • Special clothing for people with dementia.
  • Temporary emergency respite in a facility.

Dementia care specialists

Dementia care specialists help adults with memory or cognitive concerns or those diagnosed with dementia. They also support family members and friends who care for a person with memory concerns. Their services are free.

You can find dementia care specialists at ADRCs and county and tribal aging offices.

Related topics

We partner with groups across the state to offer additional caregiver services online and in-person. Below are some examples. Ask your ADRC to learn what is available in your area.

  • Dementia-Friendly Employers Toolkit—A set of resources for employers. Helps them know how to support employees who care for someone with dementia.
  • Powerful Tools for Caregivers—A six-week caregiver education class. Caregivers learn:
    • How to avoid getting hurt when lifting a person.
    • How to reduce stress.
    • Skills that apply to all types of caregivers.
    • Why self-care is crucial to avoid getting sick or hurt.
  • Respite Care Association of Wisconsin—An organization that supports and promotes quality systems of respite care for Wisconsin families. Offers online training and small respite grants. Manages a caregiver registry.
  • Trualta—An online education and training portal for family members and friends caring for a loved one at home. Includes instructional videos, articles, music, and offers a “read to me” function for low vision users.
  • Virtual Events for Caregivers—A list of support groups, memory cafes, conferences, and other events. These are all on virtual platforms.
  • WisconsinCaregiver.org—An online hub of information. Helps caregivers better care for loved ones and themselves. Includes a page for the Wisconsin Family Caregiving Support Alliance. This is an informal group of aging and disability organizations. They work together to support family caregivers.

Other groups

This is a list of some other organizations that can help older adults in Wisconsin:

Last Revised: July 20, 2022