What’s an ADRC and Why Should I Care?

What’s an ADRC and Why Should I Care?
By Kathie Schneider

You may have heard in the news lately that the governor’s budget proposal would eliminate the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) structure that exists today. Before you say, “One less alphabet soup government agency, hooray!” consider what ADRCs are and do. You may decide they’re under-used, but need to be used and publicized rather than eliminated.

The missions of ADRCs are:
To help people age 60+ and adults with disabilities secure needed services or benefits, live with dignity and security, and achieve maximum independence and quality of life. They’re a one-stop shop to find out about a huge variety of services in your county.
You might contact them to find out about:
•  Meals on wheels
•  Specialized transportation options
•  Trying out assistive devices or borrowing devices from a loan closet
•  Taking a fall prevention or strong bones class
•  Participating in a support group on living with a chronic health condition or for caregivers
•  Arranging respite care for a loved one
•  Finding out what benefits you’re eligible for and help completing the paperwork to get them

ADRCs operate per county or by a small group of counties and are responsive to a board that includes older adults, county board members, and people with disabilities. Another reason you might want to get to know the fine folks at your ADRC is to volunteer to serve on their board. You probably know about services from a blindness/visual impairment perspective that could be useful to your ADRC.

ADRCs work with individuals and their families to:
Explore various options, and subsequently assist in making informed decisions. Such assistance helps people conserve personal resources, maintain self-sufficiency, and delay or prevent the need for more expensive long-term care. As Governor Walker has stated, “In 1998, Wisconsin became the first State to develop ADRCs, and has served as a model for national replication since 2003.”

So if you’re looking for free, objective information and referral for services for yourself or a family member who has a disability or is a senior, try your local ADRC. Then decide if this four-letter “word” should disappear from the Wisconsin landscape or continue to exist the way they do today.

Here is a nifty resource published by the Wisconsin Long-Term Care Coalition regarding facts about ADRCs as well as other aspects of long-term care.

Kathie Schneider lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Featured image is the Wisconsin ADRC Logo. Credit: Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Relations is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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