Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Catholic Charities Aging Services


Q. Must I be Catholic in order to receive services?

A. Persons of all religious affiliations – or no affiliation – may receive services.

Q. How much does this service cost?

A. The fee is determined by the services needed and by a sliding scale based on household income of the individual paying for service.

Q. Is this service covered by insurance?

A. Some long-term care insurance policies may cover services. Staff may refer a potential client to funding supports in the community.

Q. Are older adult clients in the Community Option Program eligible for CompanionCare service?

A. Yes. COP case managers frequently refer clients to this program.

Q. Are clients in Care Wisconsin’s managed care system eligible for CompanionCare?

A. Yes. Care Wisconsin case managers frequently refer clients to this program.

Q. Are CompanionCare clients eligible for Federal Caregiver Support funds provided by the Area Agency on Aging? How about the National Alzheimer’s Support for Caregivers and Families funds?

A. Yes. Both programs offer funds to purchase CompanionCare services if families meet the generous criteria for means testing, as long as funds are available.

Q. Where and when is the service offered?

A. Service is provided in the home and community of older persons in Dane County. Service is usually offered on weekdays and occasionally on evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Q. Are the direct service providers screened, trained, and supervised?

A. Yes. Based on the high standards of this program’s accreditation process, all Companions undergo a thorough criminal background check; provide three objective personal references, including former employers; maintain a clear driver record with the State of Wisconsin; and furnish evidence of being free of communicable disease. Companions are required to demonstrate competence in caring for an older person after participating in a Supportive Worker Training course. Ongoing training is provided on a quarterly basis. The CompanionCare supervisor meets with each Companion every six weeks to discuss client issues and progress of Care Plan objectives. Companions have access to their supervisor 24 hours a day.

Q. How can I be sure that this service will meet my needs?

A. CompanionCare is person-centered, and the Care Plan is designed interactively with the client. To ensure satisfaction with service, clients are contacted periodically by telephone and are given an opportunity for written evaluation regularly. Each client’s case file is examined, critiqued, and rated for quality assurance on a regular basis.

Q. May I purchase CompanionCare for housecleaning services only?

A. Not normally. This service is based on the identified need for companionship, transportation to engage in community life, and support of family caregivers. All other service components are supplementary.

Q. If a couple purchases CompanionCare service, do they each have to pay a service fee?

A. No. The fee for service is based on household income—using a sliding fee schedule—for whoever is considered the guarantor of payment. One charge for service is billed each month, whether or not a couple, a single person, or an adult child is purchasing service. Adult children may consider sharing the cost of their parent’s CompanionCare service.

Q. Will CompanionCare cost less than moving an elder to an Assisted Living facility?

A. Absolutely! Older persons can remain living in their own home or apartment in their own community with support of neighbors and congregation—and receive services that will delay or prevent costly institutionalization. In many cases, the older person needs only a few hours of CompanionCare service per week to ensure continued community living.

Q. May a client receive your services AND attend an adult day center?

A. Yes. This combination of supportive services has been effective in meeting the needs of clients and their families. Catholic Charities also operates an Adult Day Center.

Q. My parent has Alzheimer’s disease (or some other type of dementia). Do the Companions have experience/training in caring for someone with memory loss?

A. Yes. The CompanionCare program has an Alzheimer's & Dementia Specialist on staff who provides respite for family caregivers and at the same time improves the quality of life of the individual experiencing mid-stage dementia. Several Companions are skilled (and receive ongoing training) in meeting the needs of persons in early stages of dementia.

Q. If a client purchases CompanionCare service, can they also receive other Catholic Charities services?

A. Yes! This is a great benefit to clients who purchase CompanionCare and is characteristic of the program that makes it unique in this community. CompanionCare offers free supportive services to clients through volunteers in the Elder Mentor and Respite Care Team Ministry programs. Aging Services can also refer a client and family to the Catholic Charities Individual and Family Counseling program for mental health services.

Respite Care Team Ministry

Q. Will the volunteers know how to care for my husband when I am away?

A. Yes. You and your husband help create the Care Plan during our initial visit. This plan specifies exactly what the team member and your husband will do during your respite. Furthermore, every team member completes an initial training by the Program Coordinator that includes confidentiality, limits of care, handling an emergency, active listening skills, safe transfer techniques, and infection control. Finally, the Coordinator provides ongoing in-services that assist the team member in providing quality care.

Q. I am not a member of any congregation, but would like to ask for services from the Respite Care Team Ministry. Can I be served?

A. Yes. The Respite Care Teams serve people in the community-at-large in addition to the members of their congregation.

Q. I am concerned about a volunteer whom I don’t know coming into my home.  How can I feel more comfortable?

A. All of the team members are screened through background checks and have completed a nationally accredited training program. Also, each team member is reviewed by his or her congregation.  As an additional safety measure, all team members who provide transportation are screened through a driver’s background check.

Q. If my errands and appointments require me to be out of my home for four hours will a team member stay with my mother for that length of time?

A. Yes, in fact Respite Care Team's “Best Practices” recommend at least four hours of quality respite for the primary caregiver. However, you determine the length of each visit, based on your needs.