Demand is rising for Connecticut program that pays caregivers living with aging loved ones

A Connecticut Public Radio report delves into a state-funded program designed to facilitate aging-in-place desires

A state-level program in Connecticut that pays caregivers living with loved ones who require special attention, and is designed to facilitate aging in place, is seeing a surge in demand across the state. This is according to reporting by Connecticut Public Radio.

The state’s Adult Family Living (AFL) program is specifically designed to help older adults age in place in their own homes, avoiding the expenses and stress that could come from relocating to a dedicated senior care facility.

The AFL Foster Caregiver Program “helps pay for those that provide care and live with the elderly and individuals with disabilities,” the program’s website explains. “The State of Connecticut has created this unique program for individuals who are the primary caregiver of a friend or family member, making it possible for them to remain at home, involved in their community and avoid a nursing home.”

Aging in place is a documented preference for a majority of older Americans, according to recent survey data and research. The rising demand seen by Connecticut’s program lends further credence to such findings, according to the report.

The program has been in place since 2013, but the demographic trends in the state reflect those of the country at large, which has helped to increase demand for the program.

“[A]s the state gets older it’s seen a surge in demand from all providers,” the report stated. “Connecticut has 820,000 residents aged 60 and older, which is nearly one quarter of the state’s population, according to the Connecticut Healthy Aging Data Report. From 2020 to 2023, the number of people in the AFL program jumped 42% to 3,862 with a total spending of $98.9 million as of 2023.”

The state funds the program and beneficiaries must qualify for Medicaid. While more people could potentially qualify for it, those who do not live with a qualifying age-related condition like Alzheimer’s disease face challenges enrolling. There is also a lack of coverage for those who care for aging spouses, which could increase enrollment substantially, Connecticut Public Radio explained.

But a new law is currently being debated in the state Legislature that would open up the program to spouses of aging residents.

As for existing program beneficiaries, one profiled older adult believes that the ability to age in her own home has saved her life.

“I don’t want to go [to a nursing home],” said 82-year-old Marline Nadeu, who receives care under the program from her daughter, who lives upstairs with her own husband and children. “Because if I end up there, I won’t make it. Why would I want to go there?”

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