When it comes to thinking about the future, Wisconsin families are like everyone else across the country- they don’t have a plan in place, even though they know they should. The Arc Wisconsin is working to meet this need. Since January 2018 we have trained 25 professionals who have supported more than 123 caregivers and families to begin development of a future plan. The Arc Wisconsin’s network of trained planners reached over 33 towns and cities.

About 2/3 of the more than 50,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Wisconsin live with their families. In many of these families, the main caregivers are over age 60 – and about a quarter have no real plan in place for the future. This is a problem. Without a future plan in place, those families can easily go into crisis.

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Future planning is creating a guide for a person with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD) to lead a good life as independently as possible. A plan is important throughout all stages of life, especially during transitions, and especially in the future after the parent or caregiver is no longer able to provide support.

Trained planners report helping Wisconsin families work through common and difficult barriers. Many families:

  • feel overwhelmed
  • are unaware of future planning options and resources
  • need support in navigating the future planning process.

Many families think future planning is mostly about finances – but good future planning is about so much more. It is about daily routines and future plans about where to live and work. It’s about growing people’s independence in their own decision-making. It really is a holistic look at someone’s life and how to secure and plan for their success and happiness.

Future Planning is an essential resource that more families should have access to in Wisconsin. You can find The Arc Wisconsin’s future planning resources here.