Adult Family Care Today

By Heather C. Hess, AFC Program Manager, LSW

The Adult Family Care (AFC) program provided by our agency, and funded by Mass Health, is steeped in the fundamental belief that people with disabilities, those with a chronic illness, and the elderly have a right to receive their care at home or in a home placement. Choice leads to independence and dignity for the member, which helps foster a more meaningful and successful outcome. This is paramount to the success of the AFC Program.

At The Arc, we believe that part of our role is to help reduce stress for caregivers and decrease burnout. We are often the only contact families and members have. “Taking care of a loved one is hard work,” said Nayda Cristian, our Bilingual AFC Assistant Program Manager. “Having a team to support you and cheer you on makes the difficulties a bit less challenging. At the end of the day, if I have made just one family feel that they are part of a team and are not alone, I have done my job.”

Left to right: Louise Edelblute, Lauren Pichette, Heather Hess, Jen Corso, Nayda Cristian, Alex Mak, Kiley Scofield

Left to right: Louise Edelblute, Lauren Pichette, Heather Hess, Jen Corso, Nayda Cristian, Alex Mak, Kiley Scofield

Both the AFC monthly nontaxable stipend as well as supportive home visits are essential components of the AFC program. Furthermore, it provides the type of supports that these families and caregivers need, which in turn allows them to better receive the gifts brought into their lives by the person receiving care.

Most of the AFC members we support live at home with their families. Families are the primary source of support and care for people with disabilities.

Did you know…

  • Family caregivers are the foundation of long-term care nationwide, exceeding Medicaid long-term care spending in all states. – Evercare Survey of the Economic Downturn and Its Impact on Family Caregiving; National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare. March 2009.
  • 78% of adults living in the community and in need of long-term care depend on family and friends as their only source of help. –Thompson, L. Long-term care: support for family caregivers. 2004


When we, at The Arc, become involved we carefully develop a plan of care that meets the person’s medical, physical, emotional, and social needs while understanding the importance of the supports we provide to the caregiver. Moreover, both the member and caregiver receive the support and resources they need to maintain a safe, fulfilling life.

In conclusion, not only is AFC a 24/7 model of care that ultimately leads to cost savings for the state by way of reduced critical incidents, hospitalizations or inappropriate nursing home placements, but it is also a great benefit to the families themselves. In addition to the financial relief provided to the caregiver, dedicated care from a trusted family member leads to better mental and physical health, and increased dignity for the person needing support.

If you want to know more about this resource and how it could benefit you or your loved oneplease contact Heather Hess at (978) 373-0552 X222 or Nayda Cristian at 978 373-0552 x223.

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