State plan will pay relatives to provide in-home care

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A new program in Massachusetts will pay families about $18,000 to a year to care for an elderly or adult disabled family member at home.

Beginning Dec. 1, the state's Executive Office of Elder Affairs and Office of Medicaid will launch the pilot project, expanding the definition of caregiver to include most family members and friends, other than a spouse, parent or legally responsible relative.

To be eligible for the program, participants must require physical assistance with at least three basic activities, including bathing and eating, or require assistance with managing behaviors such as wandering or being verbally abusive or disruptive. Financial eligibility will be determined based on assets and income, according to the state.