MI-OCEAN Caregiver Support Project


The MI-OCEAN logo. Outline of the state of Michigan and the letters M, I, O, C, E, A, N.

MIchigan Older Caregivers of Emerging Adults with Autism and other Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (MI-OCEAN) was a statewide project funded by The Michigan Health Endowment Fund. The primary aim of MI-OCEAN was to address the needs and health concerns of aging caregivers (age 55+) of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The project used a family support model to identify and address various issues that negatively impacted the health and well-being of aging caregivers and those that depend on them.
Picture of young woman smiling sitting at a table across from another woman.

Providing care can be exhausting and can leave the caregiver feeling isolated and hopeless. It can also be complicated to get the help needed for yourself as well as the person you support. MI-OCEAN addressed the negative health impacts aging caregivers face when tackling their own age-related issues while supporting adults with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities.

MI-OCEAN supported aging caregivers, 55 years and older, who provided 20 or more hours of support per week to 'emerging' adults (aged 22 years and older) with autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental and developmental disabilities (ASD/NDD). Family Support Navigators (FSN) who are themselves aging caregivers were trained to empower their peers to navigate complex systems, increasing their confidence and improving their well-being.

MissionPicture of three women standing next to each other smiling.

MI-OCEAN aligns with MI-DDI's mission to contribute to the development of inclusive communities and quality of life for people with disabilities and their families through a culturally sensitive statewide program of interdisciplinary education, community support and services, research and dissemination of information.

Families and Services

MI-OCEAN served caregivers, age 55 or older, who care for an adult with intellectual/developmental disabilities and autism for at least 20 hours per week. Caregivers:

  • Worked with a Family Support Navigator (FSN) to navigate complex service systems
  • Developed an Individualized Plan with goals that addressed the needs of the caregiver and the individual they support
  • Were connected with the resources needed to achieve their goals
  • Worked with an FSN to improve the health and quality of life for caregivers and the individual they support


For more information about this important work, please contact MI-OCEAN Project Manager, Elizabeth Janks:

Picture of Elizabeth Janks.


Email Elizabeth: e.janks@wayne.edu

Call Elizabeth: (313) 577-6368