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WI Gets High Marks For Long-Term Care

Caregivers Support V2

A just-released study ranks Wisconsin 8 th among all states when it comes to meeting the long-term care needs of residents. While that’s impressive, we all know that much more must be done to improve services in the Badger state and across the country.

 The  Scorecard ranks each state overall and within 26 performance indicators along 5 key dimensions: affordability and access; choice of setting and provider; quality of life and quality of care; support for family caregivers; and, effective transitions.

The study confirms the fact that most older Wisconsinites want to live independently, at home, as they age. And we know that Wisconsin is making progress to help our older residents achieve that goal – even as we’re seeing our state and federal budgets get squeezed more and more all the time.

The results show us that today, unpaid family caregivers provide the bulk of care for older Wisconsinites, in part because the cost of long-term care remains unaffordable for most middle income families.

In Wisconsin, more than 524,000 residents help their aging parents, spouses and other loved ones stay at home by providing assistance with bathing and dressing, transportation, finances, medical tasks like wound care and injections, and more. The value of this unpaid care totals an astounding $5.8 billion.

Many of these caregivers juggle full-time jobs with their caregiving duties, while others provide 24/7 care for their loved ones. With every task they undertake, family caregivers save the state money by keeping their loved ones out of costly nursing homes – most often paid for by Medicaid. They have certainly earned our support.

We at AARP Wisconsin continue to advocate for legislation that helps lessen the burden on family caregivers. One way to accomplish this goal is through Family Care – a unique Wisconsin program that gives frail elderly and people with disabilities the opportunity to receive long-term care services in their homes rather than in costly institutions, which is where they’d rather be anyway.

Family Care closely tailors long-term care services to the needs of the individual, which not only saves tens of thousands of dollars per person by keeping seniors out of costly institutions, but leads to better health care outcomes. We fought hard to expand Family Care into northeastern Wisconsin and eventually we’d like to see it in all 72 counties.

Family Care is just one way Wisconsin serves its older residents, those with disabilities, and family caregivers. The Scorecard shows how well the state is doing in these areas and where the focus needs to sharpen to better assist hardworking residents.

The  full state Scorecard includesan interactive map of state rankings and information.

 

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