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News Feb 14, 2018 - 3:33:47 PM

State Program Pays CT Families to Care for Elderly Relatives from Puerto Rico

By Assisted Living Services, Inc.

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from left - Maria Perez and her daughter Carmen Minchoff of Branford listen to care instructions from Olfa Santana-Zephirin RN with Assisted Living Services (ALS). ALS is a credentialed provider for a state program that pays relatives to care for elderly family members at home. (contributed photo)
Meriden, CT - Carmen Minchoff is grateful that she can personally provide the care that her mother Maria Perez, age 90, needs. Carmen is actually paid to be a caregiver because her mother qualifies for the CT Adult Family Living / Foster Caregiver (AFL) program. Carmen received the required training through Assisted Living Services, Inc. in Meriden, a credentialed provider of the program. Carmen shared her appreciation in a note to Ron D’Aquila, RN, Co-Founder and Vice President of Assisted Living Services (ALS):

“The financial benefit makes life less stressful for the caretakers, (me and my husband) and the patient,” Carmen wrote. “Mary Scagliarini, RN, Director of the Adult Family Living Program for ALS, understands how important it is for family to be together.”

Carmen wants others in the Latino community to be aware of this program, and how it helped her and her mother. The fact that ALS offers Spanish–speaking Nurses was a definite plus, as her mother is not bilingual. Olfa Santana-Zephirin, RN, visits Maria and Carmen at home in Branford. “Mom enjoys Olfa’s visits,” said Carmen.

“We want to support area families with this option to provide the necessary support services their loved-ones need to age safely at home,” said D’Aquila. “Not only does the program help train and educate Foster Caregivers on how to provide care, but it also helps keep people at home as most people prefer as they age, instead of having to go into a nursing home.” It can also reduce costs associated with home care and institutional care, according to D’Aquila.

D’Aquila explains that a caregiver can receive a tax-free stipend of over $500 per week, depending on the complexity of care, under AFL. The program is part of the Department of Social Services’ Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE).

Adult Family Living / Foster Care is defined as personal care and support services that are provided to participants who reside in a private home by a principle caregiver that lives in the home. The direct provider may be a relative of the participant as long as they are not a legally liable relative (such as a spouse).

In its role as a credentialed provider of the program, Assisted Living Services provides the “tools” needed to be comfortable and successful at caregiving, such as:

· Provide the caregiver with orientation, education, training, and on-going support by a Registered Nurse that visits regularly (usually every 6 weeks, or more frequently if needed).

· Ensure that the home is properly maintained as required by the State.

· Make sure the Foster Caregiver is meeting the health and safety needs of the participant.

· Pay the Caregiver weekly and offer direct deposit for convenience.

· Provide respite coverage for the Foster Caregiver for time off or vacations as needed.

· Enlist resources, such as a Certified Dementia Care Specialist, to assist in training for certain circumstances.

· Utilize the company’s unique and innovative program called CarePlus that combines caregiving and technology to help address client needs at no additional cost. “We provide products that can use sensors and alerts to let a Foster Caregiver know that their loved-one is getting out-of-bed so that they can respond quickly to reduce the risk of falls, or door sensors that reduce the risk of wandering with someone that has Alzheimer’s, or automated medication dispensers that keep people on schedule and compliant with their medications,” said D’Aquila. “Personal care supplemented with wireless devices is the perfect combination.” There is no cost for the additional technology.

In order to qualify, applicants must meet the following requirements:

· Be 65 years of age or older

· A Connecticut resident

· At risk of nursing home placement. Meaning, the applicant needs assistance with critical personal care such as bathing, dressing, eating, taking medications, toileting or transferring.

· Meet the program’s financial eligibility criteria.

Each applicant’s needs are then reviewed to determine if the applicant may remain at home with the help of home care services.

There are four different levels of care that depend on the complexity of care needed. When a referral is made to the Department of Social Services, a case worker visits the home for an assessment.

“Families are welcome to contact us to discuss all of the options available to care for their loved-ones at home,” said D’Aquila. “We have staff members who are fluent in Spanish and can share many of the program details.”

For more information regarding this program please contact Lynne Schmidt at Assisted Living Services, Inc. at 203-634-8668 or email: Lynne@assistedlivingct.com.

For more than 20 years, award-winning home care agency Assisted Living Services, Inc. in Meriden, with branch offices in Clinton, and Fairfield, has provided quality care to residents across Connecticut. Their unique CarePlus program blends personal care with technological safety and monitoring devices from sister company Assisted Living Technologies, Inc. Learn more by visiting www.assistedlivingct.com or calling 203.634.8668.

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