Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute (MI UCEDD) Receives Grant to Support Aging Caregivers of Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

February 15, 2023

DETROIT – The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute (MI-DDI) at Wayne State University has received a $400,000, two-year grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. The mission of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund is to improve the health of Michigan residents, with special emphasis on the health and wellness of children and seniors, while reducing the cost of health care.

The project, entitled Hope for Aging Caregivers, will look to improve the lives of aging family caregivers of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The project will use a proven peer-support model to assist families in using innovative technology to create coordinated care plans that will ultimately improve quality of life and reduce the costs associated with long-term care.

“We are excited to continue our work in supporting and enhancing the quality of life of Michigan families of adults with I/DD” said MI-DDI Director, Dr. Sharon Milberger. “With the support of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, MI-DDI can build upon our past successes in working with aging caregivers and adults with disabilities to plan for more secure futures.”

There is an identified need to better serve these families. Roughly 75% of adults with I/DD live with their parents or other family members, of which 58% of family caregivers are between the ages of 51 to 79. In Michigan, 66% of the 157,000 adults with I/DD live with their families. Of the individuals living with their families, 24% live with caregivers above the age of 60. Nearly half of such caregivers say that they have more caregiving responsibilities than they can handle.

A long-term goal of the project is to demonstrate the statewide feasibility of the model. If the project can be scaled up to serve families across Michigan, then there may be potential to evolve into a statewide, Medicaid funded initiative that can reduce system level costs of supporting people with I/DD in their communities. A key to the long-term success of the model will be the many partner organizations and state entities involved with this work.

“We look forward to collaborating with our local and statewide partners on this important work” said Elizabeth Janks, the Primary Investigator for the Hope for Aging Caregivers project. “In addition to WSU’s Institute of Gerontology, we are partnering with several key organizations and state offices to ensure the project is successful in achieving its goal of improving the quality of life of Michigan families of adults with disabilities.”

In addition to the WSU Institute of Gerontology, MI-DDI will be partnering with the Autism Alliance of Michigan, Disability Rights Michigan, Hope Trust, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Behavioral and Physical Health and Aging Services Administration (BPHASA), Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council, Michigan Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (MI-LEND), and The Arc Michigan.

To learn more about the Hope for Aging caregivers project, visit ddi.wayne.edu/hope.  You may also contact the Elizabeth Janks, at [email protected] or (313) 577-2654.

Alt text: Green and yellow logo with MI-DDI written out next to an outline of the map of the state of Michigan.