What is IRIS?

IRIS Include, Respect, I Self-Direct is Wisconsin's Self-Directed Supports Program for older people and adults with disabilities.

In IRIS you determine the combination of supports and services you need, including who will provide the services and when and how they will be provided. Your IRIS supports are available at every step to help you build the life you choose.

Learn more about the IRIS program >

www.Wisconsin-IRIS.com Transition

As of December 1, 2014, the information you previously found at www.Wisconsin-IRIS.com will no longer be available on the site. However, you can access that information and more by visiting these websites:

New issues of the quarterly IRIS Connections newsletter will also be available on TMG’s Website; an announcement email will be sent to the email addresses of people currently signed up for www.Wisconsin-IRIS.com. If you would like to opt out of these notifications, please click the link at the bottom of the message labeled “SafeUnsubscribe”.

Please contact the IRIS Information Center toll free at 888-515-4747 if you have questions or cannot find the information you’re seeking.

Thank you for your continued interest in the IRIS program.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

Across the country, there are more than 65 million Americans who care for the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, wounded veterans, and other members of our society who have a physical or developmental disability. Since 1997, recognizing and celebrating family caregivers has become an annual month-long tradition. By presidential proclamation, November has been designated as a time to thank, support, educate, and empower family caregivers and individuals providing care.

According to the website CaregiverAction.org:

  • Family caregivers provide approximately $450 billion worth of unpaid care each year.  
  • 80% of caregivers believe that their role has given them more meaning in their lives.
  • Over 15 million people care for loved ones diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • 2 out of every 5 adults are family caregivers.
  • Both men and women almost equally fill the role and over 1/3 are younger Americans between the ages of 18 and 29.

There are multiple opportunities this month to partake in this national recognition:

The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF), in recognition of National Caregivers Month provides resources for caregivers and people living with Parkinson’s.

The Alzheimer’s Association in coordination with November’s National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month is also recognizing National Family Caregiver Month by offering an “add a personal tribute” to their website for individuals who would like to personally honor and thank a caregiver.

Many organizations, including the National Family Caregiver Association (NFCA) are encouraging people who are not caregivers to reach out and offer to help those who are. "Most family caregivers won't ask for help," said NFCA president and CEO Suzanne Mintz. "For some it is about privacy and not letting others know the personal details of their lives. For others it is about an admission of failure. But nothing could be further from the truth," she added. For more information visit: www.CaregiverAction.org

One final note: It is important for the caregiver to take care of themselves first. Many caregivers who don’t care for themselves often end up with a stress-related illness or even loss of life.

Below are just a few of the many caregiver resources available:

Health Tips: Staying Fit and Healthy

CDC: Disability and Health

Medicare.gov: Caregiving

Huffington Post: Caregiving

National Cancer Institute: Caring for the Caregiver

Family Caregiver Alliance

Caregiver Action Network

Caregiver Resource Network

Tea Leaves: A Memoir of Mothers and Daughters by Janet Mason

Heating and Energy Assistance

The summer is a great time to plan for winter heating costs. The Wisconsin Heating and Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) is now processing applications for heating assistance. This is a federally-funded program that can help eligible households pay for heating, electricity, energy crisis situations, and furnace assistance. The amount of assistance depends on household income, heating costs, and household size.

The program usually offers benefits from October 1 to May 15. Because of last year’s propane shortage, applications can be submitted immediately. For people using propane, the program will estimate the amount of heating benefits a person will receive for the winter and lock in a lower summer price with a propane dealer.

25,000 energy assistance participants who use propane will receive letters requesting their applications as soon as possible.

Many factors, such as poor weather and a late corn harvest, caused an unusually high demand for propane last year, increasing prices to over $4.00 per gallon. Currently, the average propane price is $1.69 per gallon. 

Last year, the program assisted 224,731 households with heating assistance. For more information on WHEAP, call 1-866-432-8947 or visit www.homeenergyplus.wi.gov.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Insurance and Medicare Dates

Are you interested in signing up for health care coverage from the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace? Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace will run from November 15, 2014, to February 15, 2015. You can visit healthcare.gov for more information.

Also, people with Medicare Hospital or Medicare Medical Insurance (Parts A and/or B) can re-enroll in the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) or the Medicare Advantage Plan with Prescription Coverage (MA PD) from October 15, 2014 – December 7, 2014.

IRIS Community Data

On September 30, 2014 the following people were included in IRIS:

Illustration of a group of people
11,139 IRIS Participants

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