As a My Choice Family Care member, you have a team dedicated to your well-being, and you are the center of that team. Some members like to rely on their team to coordinate their care while others choose to direct some or all of their services themselves. The Self-Directed Supports (SDS) option lets you be as involved as you like in choosing, creating, and developing a plan for the services you need.

One of the reasons this option is called “self-directed supports” is that you are able to decide who your caregiver(s) will be. And since November is National Caregiver Month, it’s a good time to discuss this option and how it works.

Members Can Choose Caregivers Who Really Care

The SDS option gives members choices. They can decide to have a relative, friend, or neighbor designated as a paid care provider if they feel more comfortable working with someone they know. At the same time, relatives and friends like the fact that members can be cared for by someone who loves them and understands their needs. Whether or not the person providing the service requires training is determined on an individual basis. The most important qualification is a commitment to making sure the member is safe.

Under SDS, many members—like Josephine Ivy of Milwaukee—choose to have a family member care for them. Josephine’s caregiver is her daughter, Unity Brown, who is paid to provide 22 hours of assistive services for her mother every week. This includes personal grooming, cooking, running errands, and more, as outlined in her personal care plan.

The arrangement benefits both women. Josephine has a caregiver who knows and loves her, and Unity says it’s a blessing to receive pay for some of the hours she cares for her mother. Unity adds that being a caregiver gives her peace of mind because she’s familiar with her mother’s needs and knows which medications are required each day.

Before Unity took over her mother’s care, her older sister, Shalonda Buchanan, worked with Josephine. Caring for her is a family affair, because her son Tommy lives with her as well. Josephine says if she wasn’t cared for by her family, she probably wouldn’t be able to live as independently and stay as healthy.

MSDS Option Promotes Independence

Jane Westpfahl, one of My Choice’s Self-Directed Supports Specialists, says independence is at the heart of the SDS option. “Our goal is to try to keep a person as independent as possible, and the goal for many people we serve is for them to stay in their own home for as long as possible.”

Unity is an enthusiastic backer of SDS, saying: “The SDS option is awesome. It’s an opportunity to help a loved one regain his or her health, dignity, and self-esteem, and it’s nice to know you’re helping someone get back into daily living.”

Both mother and daughter agree this option works well for them. “I really recommend it,” Unity says. “It gives you a good sense of accomplishment and compassion to know you’re there for the person who loves you.”

And, because we value all of our members, we want the best for you. If you think the Self-Directed Supports option would be right for you or one of your loved ones, please contact your care team.