Providing Respite for Family Caregivers

Family caregivers are essential to many older adults living in the community who need extra support and compassion. Since 2019, three funders – the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Health Foundation for Western and Central New York, and the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation – have been partnering to recognize and learn how to provide this same support and compassion back to family caregivers throughout western New York and Washtenaw County, Michigan. Exhale – The Family Caregiver Initiative is dedicated to offering innovative solutions that give caregivers an opportunity to breathe a little easier. Exhale is managed by The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) with support from Teresa Lawrence (International Deliverables).

Read more about the program, including current grantee projects, at the links below.

Southeast Michigan Program Expansion

In January 2024, Exhale expanded through Southeast Michigan to include Wayne, Monroe, St. Clair, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, and Washtenaw counties. Nonprofit organizations, businesses, and employers of caregivers that are based in Southeast Michigan are eligible to participate in Exhale. In a series of virtual and in-person workshops, those interested in developing a caregiver respite project will receive free training in creative problem solving and support throughout the grant application process. Upon completing the workshop series, workshop participants will be eligible to apply for Exhale funding and receive a $500 stipend for participation (one per organization). The workshop series began January 25, 2024.

Programs and Resources

Exhale Overview

Exhale, the Family Caregiver Initiative, funds innovative collaborative projects that are reimagining and increasing respite opportunities for family caregivers of older adults. Respite, a period of rest or relief, can play a key role in reinforcing caregiver well-being and effectiveness, leading to better health, social-emotional outcomes, and lower costs of care for family caregivers and older adults they care for. Simply knowing respite services are available can lower caregiver stress by 70%. Caregivers need support to find time to rest, clear their minds, and take a breath. That’s why we’re here to help.

To date, Exhale has helped teams of organizations learn and apply creative problem-solving techniques and work together to increase respite opportunities for family caregivers of older adults. Through this program, 16 successful projects were created. Exhale has three components:

  1. Training and capacity building in creative problem solving
  2. Grant funding of innovative caregiver respite projects
  3. Ongoing support toward effective implementation, sustainability, and expansion of respite projects through a learning community for grantee partners

Learn about Exhale Grantee Cohort 1 (2020-2023) >>

Learn about Exhale Grantee Cohort 2 (2022-2025) >>

Exhale Memory Café Collective

The Exhale Memory Café Collective, funded by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and Health Foundation for Western and Central New York, is an opportunity for invited greater Buffalo-area arts and culture organizations to learn about memory cafés and receive financial support to launch a memory café in their communities. In a 27-month program (October 2023-December 2025), the Collective will provide training and support for participating organizations to plan, implement, and sustain vibrant and successful memory cafés.

Learn more.

Respite and Caregiving Resources

*The Caregiver Intensity Index (CII) is a web-based caregiver “quiz” designed to engage caregivers, assess the intensity of and provide a “score” in validation of their experience, and connect them to the resources of our sponsoring partners and supplemented by ARCHANGELS’ resources. Through data and stories, the CII creates the crosswalk from an individual caregiver’s experience to population insights that support development of products, tactics, approaches, and solutions that reflect the complex caregiver reality.

“Family caregivers play an essential role in the lives of older adults in our communities and deserve support and recognition for their invaluable work. We are proud to partner on this initiative with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation with the goal of enabling organizations to team together and develop creative respite programs that provide a new level of support for our communities’ caregivers.”

Ken Genewick, Vice President of Programs, Health Foundation for Western and Central New York