ADRC of Racine County, Wisconsin

Senior Services

Caregiver Support Services are designed to assist those that are age 60 and older and their caregivers. These programs provide support, relief and education to those that have become a caregiver for an adult aged 60 and older or the adult themself should they require assistance.  Brochure

Under the scope of these services are:

Current Events:

See our Calendar for upcoming events!


Upcoming Class/conference Flyers:

Classes offered - contact Elizabeth at 262-833-8762 for more information

Caregiving Relationships,

Healthy Living with Diabetes,

Living Well with Chronic Conditions,

Powerful Tools for Caregivers, and

Stepping On.  

You can also check the Calendar (see tab at the left).


Upcoming Classes

Contact Elizabeth for further information 262-833-8762
Know your way around a tablet computer? Become a volunteer coach for the new
Sip and Swipe Cafe Tablet training program

Telephone Support Group

List of area Caregiver Support Groups

ADRC Volunteer Opportunities

Caregiver Worksheet



Caring for someone with dementia?  Check out the Alzheimer's Family Caregiver Support Program (AFCSP). Call the ADRC 262-833-8777 for more information about the program.
Alzheimer's Association - Area Programs:
Alzheimer's Association programs and classes in Racine and Kenosha for 2017 - Flyer
Share your stories and socialize with others who have worries about their memory. 
Third Thursday of each month   
1:30—3:00 pm  Old Settlers Bowling Center
1500 15th Ave. Union Grove, WI
RSVP to Wendy Betley at 414-479-8800
Care Consultations with Alzheimer's Association Staff - times available at the ADRC offices.


Topics of Intrest -


Conflict Over Caregiving Is Common

But families can take steps to minimize disputes

If caring for an older person is causing conflict within your family, you are not alone.  Conflict is often part of family caregiving situations.  Even the best of intentions to help mom or dad may cause tension.  Because everyone approaches things differently, each family member’s opinion about what is best for mom or dad can vary greatly.  But there are steps you can take to keep family conflict at bay when dealing with caregiving concerns. 

Why the conflict?  Different attitudes toward family caregiving, depending on personality or family situation, can lead to conflict and alienation between siblings and other relatives.  Sometimes the family member with the strongest personality dominates the decision-making process or takes on caregiving responsibilities without consulting other family members.  Some family members might deny there is a need and be unwilling to offer assistance.  There are also situations where people who have their own children to care for expect an unmarried or childless sibling (or other relative) to take on caregiving responsibilities.  The unmarried family member may not welcome this expectation.

Minimizing conflict.  Family caregivers need to recognize that conflict is not unusual and getting help is important.  If differences continue, family relationships can be permanently damaged.  Also, the person being cared for may feel guilt, believing he or she is the cause of conflict.  The best way to approach family conflict is to get everyone concerned about the care of the person into the same room to discuss their feelings, create a care plan and assign responsibilities.  Face-to-face discussion eliminates the potential for misunderstandings due to information being received second-hand.  If conflict continues, the next best step is to get everyone in the same room but with a non-family member in the discussion.  The person should be someone whose opinion everyone agrees to respect.

Other steps to take.  Sometimes these suggestions just don’t seem to work.  Don’t lose heart.  Resolving conflict among families takes time.  Be patient and keep doing your best at open, honest communication.  Attending a support group by yourself or with family members can also be helpful.  Other members may share ideas that worked in similar situations, and you will have the reassurance that you are not alone in your struggles!  Lastly, seeking professional counseling as an individual or with family members can greatly improve the situation.

If you are dealing with conflict over family caregiving issues you may contact the ADRC for resources and tips on how to handle conflict. 

Jane Mahoney
Older Americans Act Consultant
Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources


Loss and Grief in Caregiving

November is National Caregiver’s month – a month to celebrate and honor all of you who are caring for your spouse, parent or friend.  Over 25% of households in the United States are involved in caring for an older adult.  Isn’t it wonderful that so many people are dedicated to helping those they love?  Being able to take care of your loved one in their older years is a joy and an honor. 

But caregivers also know that their job is not always joyful, or easy!  In fact, there is a lot of loss associated with caregiving.  Some of the more obvious things that caregivers lose are jobs/careers, social interactions, free time and often their own well-being.  Other losses are less clear, like when you are feeling sadness and grief but can’t quite explain exactly what it’s all about. For example, you may feel like you have already lost your loved one even though they are still alive. This ambiguous loss is particularly difficult to overcome because it is often brushed aside as not being real.  When losses are not identified and feelings of grief are not validated, depression will often follow.

I’m sure all caregivers will agree that they have experienced various losses as a result of their caregiving role. Most of these losses are unavoidable and must be faced.  Grief is the emotional process of working through these losses.  Grief can be experienced in many different ways.  Some common responses to grief are anger and frustration, shock and denial, disorganization, helplessness and fear, guilt and regret, sadness, and fatigue.  The most important thing is that the caregiver recognizes their losses and how they are responding, and then allows themselves to grieve.

How does a person grieve?  Let yourself express all of the emotions you are feeling.  Find a good friend, therapist or support group where you feel safe to share your feelings.  Find a private time and space to gather memories and savor that which was lost.  Write in a journal.  Take care of your health.  Stay in touch with friends.  Say “goodbye” to life as you knew it and say “hello” to your life as it is now.

The phrases “work through your grief” and “learn to let go” are common, giving the impression that the sadness and pain of your loss will end one day.  But some grief and sadness will never completely go away.  Living under the impression that you can somehow make your pain and grief disappear may be setting yourself up to fail.  Dealing with loss is not forgetting that which you have lost, but learning how to integrate those losses into your life and move forward.  It has been said, “You never get over a loss; you just get different.”

One last suggestion to all of you hardworking caregivers:  Give yourself a pat on the back for all that you do.  Treat yourself to lunch with friends, a few hours doing your favorite hobby, a manicure or massage.  You have definitely earned it.  And remember, you are admired by many for your dedication and selflessness.  Keep up the good work!

Jane Mahoney
Older Americans Act Consultant
Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources


Find Support in your Caregiving Role

Talk to someone who provides care for their aging loved one and they will tell you what a difficult and stressful job caregiving can be. The American Medical Association states that the role of caregiving places demands on the caregiver which leaves them at risk for health problems including serious illness and depression.  And according to the American Journal of Public Health, middle-aged and older women caring for their spouses are six times more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety disorders than their non-caregiving counterparts.  The result of this decline in health by the caregiver not only affects the person giving the care, but it may also compromise the care they are providing their loved one.

Reading information like this can make caregiving sound very bleak and discouraging.  But we also know that caregiving can be a very rewarding job.  The key difference between a caregiver who is barely hanging on and one who is happy and at ease is having proper support in their role as a caregiver.  Healthy and content caregivers receive help with tasks like providing personal cares and housekeeping and they take regular breaks from caregiving.  But most importantly, they also have found an emotional support network.
The American Medical Association suggests to physicians that “a referral to a support group should be recommended for all caregivers.”  Oftentimes, people hear the words “support group” and immediately tune out.  They are uncomfortable with the idea of sharing their feelings. Or they think of a support group as a bunch of people sitting around whining about their lives.  But support groups are much more than that and the benefits they offer are valuable.
The definition of a support group is a gathering of people in similar situations who provide each other moral support, practical information and coping tips.  Here are some of the benefits of attending support group meetings.
  • They provide valuable information that will increase your knowledge of caregiving.  One of the best resources for caregivers is other caregivers!
  • They teach coping skills. The information and advice that the group provides can assist in problem solving the many different challenging situations you may be experiencing.
  • They are a place to share common concerns and joys.  Others in similar situations can then offer encouragement and support.
  • They provide emotional support and are a safe place to identify and express stressful feelings.  Having this support can improve your mood and decrease feelings of distress.
  • They provide affirmation and advocacy.  The group serves as a source of validation and can offer avenues to local resources.
The benefits of attending support group meetings can help you feel less alone, give you new strategies to cope with day-to-day stressors and help you feel affirmed in your work as a caregiver.  The result will be a healthier, happier you which in turn means better care for your loved one.  By taking time to care for your physical and emotional needs, you will discover you can feel more joy and contentment in your caregiving role.
Currently there are several options for support groups in the area.  See the listings at: Support Groups  
If you find it difficult to leave your home or are not comfortable in group settings, the Caregiver Call-In might be right for you.  This Wisconsin based telephone support group is free and open to caregivers across the state on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.  Call (877) 416-7083 for more information or to register.
All caregivers are encouraged to attend one of these support groups.  If finding someone to care for your loved one during the meeting is a concern for you, please call the ADRC at 262-833-8777. 
Jane Mahoney
Older American’s Act Consultant
Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources


Caregiver Stress

If you help a loved one with chores such as cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, setting up medications and going to doctor appointments or even calling just to make sure someone is “ok”, you may be a family caregiver.  Family caregivers provide care to a spouse, a neighbor or friend. Others are caring for an adult child or a parent with a disability or illness.  You do not need to live with someone to be considered a caregiver.  According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 65.7 million Americans served as caregivers for an ill or disabled relative in the past year. 

Caregiving can be a very rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging.  Caregivers often feel overwhelmed with the responsibilities of caregiving.  Feelings of loneliness, isolation, exhaustion, anger and even depression are common.  Caregivers are more likely than the general population to have a chronic illness due to conditions of high strain. (82% vs 61% per the American Psychological Association)    Some signs of caregiver stress are:

·        Inability to concentrate

·        Feeling irritable

·        Frequent crying

·        Difficulty sleeping

·        Lack of interest in activities

·        Withdrawal from family and friends

·        Increased physical illness

If you are a caregiver, it is important to recognize the warning signs of stress and GET HELP.  Getting support can make a substantial difference and make caregiving a matter of “thriving” and not just “surviving.” 

Here are some simple things that you can do as a caregiver to take care of yourself:

·        Reach out to family and friends for support and accept help when it is offered. 

·        Maintain your hobbies and your friendships. 

·        Give yourself a treat at least once per week –no matter how small, as long as it is something that makes you feel special.

·        Make a call today to get help.  Take advantage of support that is available for caregivers.


There is more support available for caregivers as well.  Call the ADRC for more information about these available services:

Support groups:  Support groups provide an opportunity to share strategies and coping skills to deal with caregiving challenges.  They also provide a chance to build new friendship connections. 

Workshops:  Powerful Tools for Caregivers is one of several workshops designed to teach self-care and increase caregiving skills.

Respite Grants:  The National Family Caregivers Support Program and the Alzheimer’s Family Caregiver Support Program offer financial assistance for respite and other supplemental services to eligible caregivers.

Veteran Programs:  Respite and other supplemental services may be available for those who are caring for a veteran who is eligible for those programs.

Long Term Care Programs:  Family Care provides funds for services that help caregivers to keep eligible individuals in their homes in the community.

Make sure that you are a caregiver who “thrives” and not just “survives!”

Kathleen Manny

Healthy Sheboygan County 2020 Mental Health Committee/
Community Services Specialist
Aging & Disability Resource Center of Sheboygan County




A Powerful Team of Love and Support

Hello. I’m Bob. I am 62 years old, I’m a husband, father, brother, grandfather, and “care partner”. I have Parkinson Disease. At first my life went on pretty much as usual, except that I was a little unsteady, and my leg muscles would “freeze” sometimes. Little by little this disease robbed me of most of the activities I used to love, not to mention the dream vacation I had planned with my wife Linda. Now I need Linda’s help to do even simple things like buttoning my shirt. That’s what makes us “care partners.” We both do what we can to look after the other’s wellbeing.  I do everything I can for myself, and I try to show Linda my love, appreciation, and concern every way I can.  Some days that’s not much. Then I get pretty grouchy. It’s humbling to accept help going to the bathroom!

Sometimes I actually feel angry with Linda and say unkind things to her. Then I see her cry and notice how tired she looks, and I feel terrible. I’d like to be able to help her more with all that she has to cope with. After all, this disease has happened to both of us.


I am Sadie. I’m 89-year-old, a retired piano teacher.  I have rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. My granddaughter lives in my house and takes care of me. She does all the cooking, laundry, and cleaning, checks my blood sugar, gives me my medicine, and helps me with my bath. She quit her job to come and take care of me. She’s taking online college classes, and I can see that she is overwhelmed a lot. She “talks” to friends on her computer, but she never gets to spend time with people her own age. Sometimes she gets cross with me. I wish I could put a little fun in her life.


These stories demonstrate an often-overlooked part of the family caregiving situation: the person needing care has many difficult feelings to deal with, and there may not be any appropriate time or place to express them. A person who receives care may feel embarrassed, guilty, inadequate, angry, and betrayed by life events. If feelings are not recognized for what they are, they may come out as unkind words to the caregiver, stubbornness, and drawing in to one’s own troubles with blinders to anyone else’s needs.  Even though the caregiver is doing most of the physical work, the care receiver can be a partner in the relationship by offering appreciation, emotional support, and encouragement. After listening to many caregivers over the years, I’ve noticed several ways in which they feel supported by the person needing care, and it makes a huge difference.  Here are a few suggestions:

*   Keep doing whatever you can.

*   Be a good listener. Be interested in your caregiver’s stories and feelings.

*   Show affection and gratitude – Just say “Thank You” – often.

*   Be willing to compromise and problem-solve with your care partner.

*   Accept help from outside sources, even though it isn’t exactly what your family member would do. This affords your caregiver some time to rest, do errands, get together with friends, or something else special and return to caregiving duties refreshed.

*   Attend day programs and activities so your caregiver can have time off and you have some socialization. These programs afford you opportunities to be with others who are experiencing some of the same symptoms and feelings. There is conversation and laughter and good food, and by the time you come home, both you and your care partner will feel renewed. Trying a day program is a wonderful gift you can give to your partnership.

*   When making decisions about your care, remember that those choices may affect others profoundly. Sometimes what you want most just may not be possible right now.

Nevertheless, you and your care partner will continue to have moments of joy as long as you appreciate each other.

Bob and Linda join the local Parkinson’s Support Group together.  They decide to enroll Bob in the Parkinson’s Exercise Program at the YMCA. And with Bob’s encouragement

Linda attends one of the ADRC Caregiver Support Groups and takes a class called Powerful Tools for Caregivers. Together they are a strong team!

Melissa reads about family caregiver support offered at the ADRC. She calls, subscribes to the Family Caregiver Newsletter, and hears about Harmony Club, a day respite program with activities for people who need care at home. Sadie agrees to go, and she actually plays the piano there for a sing-a-long! Melissa has lunch with a friend. By the time they return home, both are animated and re-energized. Both Sadie and Melissa develop a new outlook on their care partnership!

A Note to Caregivers: The person(s) you care for may not be able to follow through on all or any of these suggestions. Thank your loved one for whatever sign of appreciation and love is offered. Remember that he or she is experiencing a lot of difficult emotions, as you are. Appreciate and thank yourself for what you are doing. Don’t be afraid to set limits and claim your right to self-care. That’s what the person who needs care would want if he/she could see the big picture. And that’s what will help you continue to be a good family caregiver as long as needed.

Hats Off to Racine County’s Family Caregivers!!

By Marilyn Joyce RN
Caregiver Support Specialist



Assisted Living in Wisconsin: Important Information to Know

(Modified from an article by Cia Westphal, I & A - St Croix County ADRC)

In Wisconsin there is a range of assisted living settings which serve a variety of consumer needs.  These facilities must be licensed or certified by the State of Wisconsin.  Often a person may add supportive or home health care to the support they receive from family and friends, while still living in their own home or apartment.  However, sometimes the amount of support and care needed surpasses the availability of that care and the next step must be considered.  An assisted living facility is often used as a “stepping stone” between receiving care at home and permanently entering a nursing home. 

Assisted living facilities are designed to help people remain as independent as possible, while providing needed care.  A person may need to consider moving to assisted living when they have difficulty with self-care; diminishing health, physical or cognitive abilities; a lack of sufficient community supports; or family is not available to provide enough care or supervision to keep them safe.  Assisted living facilities are required to provide or arrange for these basics, and depending on individual need other services like: health monitoring, assistance with medications, access to leisure activities, and personal care such as help with dressing, eating, bathing, grooming, toileting and mobility. 

In addition to supportive home care, “day programming” or adult day care can sometimes delay the need for a move to assisted living as they provide both care and respite for the caregiver.  The ADRC has information about the programs available in the area if this is something you want to consider.

There is a lot of terminology to know when it comes to assisted living facilities.  Below is a snapshot, but please know that you can call the ADRC at 262-833-8777 for more information or to discuss your individual situation.

A Residential Care Apartment Complex (RCAC) is a place where 5 or more unrelated adults live.  Each person has a separate, independent apartment with a door that locks, a kitchen, and a private, full bathroom.  Residents in an RCAC must not need more than 28 hours of care per week (supportive, personal and nursing care combined).  Additionally, a person must be legally competent when moving into this type of facility.

An Adult Family Home (AFH) is a place where 3 or 4 unrelated adults, who are not related to the license owner, live and receive care, treatment or services in addition to room & board, and may include up to 7 hours per week of nursing care per resident.   Some AFHs are owned by people who also live on site, while others are owned by a person or company who provides staff for each shift throughout the day.

A Community Based Residential Facility (CBRF) is a place where 5 or more unrelated adults live and receive care, treatment or services in additional to room & board.  People who live in these settings cannot need more than 3 hours a week of skilled nursing care. (Supportive and personal care is readily available based on need.)  CBRFs come in a variety of sizes, based on the number of residents: small (5-8), medium (9-20) and large (21 or more).

Some people who live in assisted living centers pay the facility owner directly for their care, while other people receive public funding to help them cover the full cost of that care.  Many people start as private pay residents and transition to public funding when their assets are fully depleted.  Medicare does not cover the costs associated with assisted living.  If you feel that you need an assisted living facility, but lack resources or assets to cover the costs, contact the ADRC about the publicly funded programs that may be able to assist with this.

Racine County has a wide variety of assisted living facilities in almost all communities.  We have listed many of these in our Living Options Directory which can be mailed to you, is available on our website in the “Racine County Resources” area, or we would be happy to make an appointment to discuss your needs.  We would also be happy to discuss assisted living and other options over the phone as well.



Caring While Respecting Wishes

Once upon a time, a caring daughter felt mom was no longer capable of living safely at home – using the stove, climbing the stairs, etc - and wanted to move her to the assisted living facility down the road.  After all, the facility was very nice, and the people who worked there were lovely and there were no worries about cooking or laundry or cleaning.  But mom didn’t want to live there.  She wanted to live in her own home.  And she fully intended to live at home until she died.  

For many, that “Once upon a time” is now.  Many children become caregivers, and they do so with the best of intentions.  That daughter wants her mom to live a long life, free of injury, pain, or tragedy.  When she sees mom slowing down, she begins to worry about keeping mom safe in her home. But is there a time when safety becomes more important than being in your own home, a time when a parent’s safety overrides his or her right to choose where to live?  This is an ongoing question concerning “quality of life,” “quantity of life,” and which is more important to you. 

So, should we ask the question, “How do I get my mom to move into an assisted living facility?”  or, “How can I make mom’s home as safe as possible so she can have her wish of living at home until she dies?”  And we also have to wrestle with this one: “How can I feel okay about having her live in a situation that has some potential dangers?”   

The answer begins with communication, preferably before a crisis arises.  Parents and their adult children should have conversations about how parents want to live their later years while the parents are still capable and healthy.  If the opportunity to discuss these things with healthy parents has passed, it is up to children to do their best to determine how they think these questions would have been answered by the parent.

Keep in mind that some people treasure their independence and life in their own home (quality) so much that they would rather risk injury and a shorter life (quantity) than move out.  Answering the question of what matters most to those needing care (quality or quantity of life) can help caregivers make decisions. 

The next step is carrying out those wishes.  This can be difficult when a parent’s wish differs from the adult child.  What happens when the parent wants to live at home but the son feels it is unsafe?  If “quality of life” is the priority, the son can work to make the home as safe as possible.  The son also has to let go of some of his own ideas of what is best.  Try not to waste precious time arguing, trying to convince mom or dad that your way is better.   

Sometimes granting a parents’ wish may become very complicated.  What the parent wants may not be possible due to the declining ability to make good decisions.  There are also times when neither child nor parents’ wishes can be met.  In these situations do your best to provide safety and dignity when making your decisions. 

When you understand what is important to your loved one, what his/her beliefs, principles and priorities are, it is easier to face difficult situations that may come your way.  Contact the Aging and Disability Resource Center at 262-833-8777 for help in finding resources and to create a safe environment for your loved one.


Jane Mahoney

Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources