WISE is a service of JFS, a respected community-based human service organization with a long history of helping all members of Washtenaw County, regardless of race or religion. That reputation is based on 30 years of providing programs and services to older adults and caregivers with integrity, compassion, social responsibility and humanitarian values.
With WISE, you have one dedicated care professional that connects you with personalized help and support. We provide the information you need to make informed choices that keep you living independently and well for as long as possible.
Two WISE plans are available. WISE Choice is a fee-based program that provides customized, comprehensive support for you or your loved one. We also offer the WISE Safety Net Plan at a sliding scale cost for low income community members.
Care Coordination & Care Management
Helping you anticipate needs and navigate vulnerabilities and areas of risk or concern.
Healthy food options catering to specialty diets.
Offering evidence-based care management and social enrichment.
Get where you need,
when you need it.
Providing caregivers the education and support they need.
With You Every
Step of the Way, Your Way
Our true value is the role we play as your personal consultant through the aging process. With compassion and understanding, our care professionals offer the expertise and industry connections to help you age on your own terms.
It’s your decision, but you don’t need to make it alone.
Your WISE care professional can offer you a range of choices and resources so you can chart your own course.
We have navigated these paths before and can help you avoid common mistakes and follow best practices to achieve your goals.
Let our longstanding relationships in
the community work for you.
We are connected to every local facility and resource. We can make calls on your behalf and report back to you about what resources are available and best suit your needs. We listen to you to help you get where you want to go.
Regular Check-Ins Keep You Proactive, Not Reactive.
We keep in touch with each of our clients with a steady presence and regular check-ins. We know the questions to ask that you may not have considered so you are prepared for what comes next.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a WISE care professional do?
Your WISE care professional acts as a helping guide throughout the aging process. Every person’s circumstances and needs are different, and your dedicated WISE professional will always look to you as the expert in your life, your wishes, and your strengths.
Initiate the care plan and keep it moving at your customized pace.
Help ensure your home environment is safe and modified as needed.
Help mediate family conflicts and navigate family dynamics as they relate to your goals for aging.
Advocate for the care recipient and the family caregiver
Manage care for a loved one for out-of-town families
Conduct ongoing assessments to monitor progress and meet new challenges
Provide meaningful support and, in some cases, personal counseling
Help with Medicare and health insurance applications and navigation
Connect to legal, financial, chore and other personal services
Provide assistance with transitions to assisted living facilities or nursing homes
Monitor the care of a family member in a nursing home or in assisted living
Work with you to Solve “every day” challenges before they become emergencies
Coordinate medical appointments and medical information
Arrange for transportation to medical appointments
Assist families in positive decision making
My siblings and I are not in agreement about whether our father should continue to live alone. Is there a way to resolve this?
While family members may always want the best for loved ones, they don’t always see eye to eye. WISE can help mediate family conflicts within a solution-focused framework to help you find common ground and preserve relationships, even as we navigate disputes. Careful, objective evaluation of the issues and a presentation of options for action are key elements to a successful resolution.
My mother has some trouble on her feet but is otherwise very healthy. I am concerned about her safety, because she lives alone. What can I do?
By conducting a WISE assessment, we will better understand your wife’s health, the safety of your home and your goals. Once we better understand what’s in play, we’ll propose solutions and work with you to implement them. There is no charge for an assessment. Click here to learn more.
I’ve moved out of state. Can WISE help me care for an elderly loved one who is far away?
Yes, even if you’re not nearby, you can still be connected to your loved one’s daily care with the help of your WISE team. We can visit your loved one and provide you with updates. If your elder family member can’t travel alone to their appointment, we can arrange for accompaniment and, with their permission, share notes and information from the visit with you.
I've been losing weight without trying and I'm just not interested in cooking anymore. Can you offer me suggestions?
Any changes in your health that are “unusual or unanticipated” are always best checked out first by a doctor. If food preparation is the driving force, WISE can help with a variety of nutrition services. Often, people overlook how mood may impact appetite, energy and interest. So we would also recommend a quick screening for depression or anxiety to better understand what factors are in play and how we can help.
My mother is becoming exhausted caring for my father, who is in the mid-stages of Alzheimer’s. What can you offer her to help?
Caregiving is one of life’s most demanding jobs and caregiver strain is very real. WISE can help connect you to respite care, which will allow your mother some time for herself. There are also support groups which many caregivers find helpful. In some cases, adult day care services are available and could provide a safe place for socialization and stimulation. Contact us to learn more about your options.
Since my wife’s death, I have lost interest in former activities and I know I have been withdrawing more. How can WISE help?
Try participating in some activities at "WISE @ the J," where opportunities for socialization and enrichment include options for exercise, lectures, outings, classes and a lunch program.
Who covers the cost?
The cost of a care manager in the WISE Advantage plan is often shouldered by the family, but sometimes it is covered by supplemental or long-term insurance. Policy language usually refers to care management as care coordination. Contact us to learn about our different options to develop a plan that fits your budget and coverage. For low income older adults, the WISE Safety Net offers many important services for a sliding scale fee or no cost.
What are some of the special challenges of having an elderly parent living far away where you can’t go scope out the situation regularly and thus need eyes and ears on the ground?
It can be very arduous to manage a staff of people working in a parent’s home. They quit. Or you have to fire them. The client, who is so dependent, becomes almost an emotional hostage, needing the aide so badly they may be afraid to complain or offend. It is imperative to have eyes and ears available locally. This is not a process that can be managed long-distance, even as in-touch as we are with cell phones, text messaging and video conferences. We always work with another care manager in the other location to have an independent individual assess the facility and situation.
Caring for my parent is taking an emotional toll on our relationship. I feel more like I am a caregiver than their child.
Hiring a WISE care manager can allow the children of the elderly person to be children again, while someone else manages the situation. When a son or daughter is providing the hands-on care to the parent, the quality time they have to be there emotionally for their parent is limited. The care manager can handle the difficult interpersonal issues, address the immediate problem, remain connected once the crisis passes and get back involved as the situation requires it.
I'm a snowbird and move down south every year. Can you help me navigate resources when I'm away from home?
Yes. Our networks are far reaching and comprehensive. We will help you build the supportive relationships you need, even when you are far from home.
I’m feeling stressed about my elderly parent living far away because I can’t scope out the situation regularly and feel like I need eyes and ears on the ground. Is this something you can help with?
Yes, we’d love to be your eyes and ears and are trained to do just that. With your parent’s permission, we can work with you both to make sure that they have everything they need and you have peace of mind. As overwhelming as this feels, rest assured this is something that we help with all of the time.
My adult child is my healthcare advocate and DPOA and my closest partner in my self-care and decision making. However, this dynamic takes an emotional toll on our relationship.
Working with WISE care professional can permit family members to take a step back from “the business” of the relationship, knowing there is a trusted ally to help. Often, when an adult child (sometimes with kids of their own) is in a caregiving role, the quality time they have to connect emotionally with their parent can be limited. With a WISE professional handling immediate problems and regular hurdles, more time and space may be freed up to renew a loving connection.
WISE is powered by
Through dedicated staff and volunteers, and in cooperation with a wide range of community partners, JFS strives to be a catalyst to meet the human service needs of all people of Washtenaw County.
We are committed to providing affordable, accessible, holistically-oriented and culturally sensitive care to our clients, whatever their identification, affiliation, lifestyle, background, race, religious creed, or national origin.
The most trusted names invest in us, because they trust us to invest in you.