Aid cuts concerns county officialAn official in a St. Croix County agency is concerned about a proposed small cut in the state budget that would make a big difference for caregivers to persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
By: Jon Echternacht, Hudson Star-Observer
An official in a St. Croix County agency is concerned about a proposed small cut in the state budget that would make a big difference for caregivers to persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Nancy Abrahamson, caregiver support coordinator at the aging and disability resource center in the Government Center, said, “The funding for Alzheimer’s Family Caregiver Support Program (AFCSP) is really nominal and it provides money for eligible families to be used in the best ways possible.”
Gov. Jim Doyle proposed a 2009-2011 budget that includes $2.2 billion in reductions of state services. One of the victims is some $2 million designated for AFCSP. St. Croix County’s portion of the state allotment is $16,724 and only 10 percent of the funding can be used for administration.
Abrahamson said what money isn’t used by the county one year is deducted from the next year’s portion of the funding.
“It does a lot of good for a little money,” she said. “We were able to help 15 people last year.”
“Up to $2,000 per year is available to reimburse the cost of goods and services, to assist caregivers and enable them to keep a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s disease at home for as long as possible,” Abrahamson said, “persons who might otherwise be institutionalized.
The funding is available to help households care for a family member who over 60-years-old and has been diagnosed with irreversible dementia, she said. It helps the people who are not eligible for medical expenses because their income is higher than required but are not wealthy.
AFCSP can provide for the cost of housekeeping, nursing, transportation, personal care, home delivered meals and other services relating to care not covered by insurance.
Abrahamson said one such service is “a day away” that allows the care giver to take time off from the 24-hour, 7-day-week cycle to run errands, go shopping and the like. The family member is provided with professional care during this time.
Currently the program provides aid to seven families in the county; five are couples, one includes a sister and one an adult child who serve as caregivers.
AFCSP funding was created in 1984. A Wisconsin task force on Alzheimer’s and related diseases determined that the mortality of those affected was increasing and called for a long term support system for individuals with dementia and their families.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It is a degenerative, terminal disease with no known cure. It was first diagnosed by German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and was named after him.