Providing Respite for Family Caregivers

Family caregivers are essential to many older adults living in the community who need extra support and compassion. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Health Foundation for Western and Central New York, and the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation are 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, originally called the Communities Care Family Caregivers Respite Pilot Program, 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).

Programs and Resources

Program 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, three successful pilot projects were created: Caregiver Tech Solutions, Intergenerational Enrichment and Educational Respite Program, and Musical Memories Café.

Exhale has three components:

  1. Training and capacity building in creative problem solving and project management
  2. Grant funding of pilot projects or other innovative initiatives that support respite for family caregivers
  3. Supporting effective implementation, sustainability, and expansion of pilots through a learning community for grantee partners



Training Workshop Resources

The following resources were used during the creative problem solving and project management training provided to all program participants during Exhale’s 2022 workshop series (January through March 2022). This workshop series was provided by Teresa Lawrence, PhD of International Deliverables in collaboration with Lisa Payne Simon of TPI.

Workshop #1 – January 5, 2022

Workshop #2 – January 26, 2022

Workshop #3 – February 15, 2022

Workshop #4 – March 8, 2022

Workshop #5 – March 28, 2022

2019-2023 Cohort Project Resources and Learning Community

The following resources include information about Exhale’s first three pilot programs, program activities, timeline, and learning community activities during the initial grants phase of the program. Click here to watch a short 4-minute video featuring the work of Exhale’s first three respite pilot. Click here to learn more about Exhale’s first three respite pilots.

Key Documents

Project in the News

Learning Community Sessions

October 8, 2020

February 1, 2021

June 8, 2021

October 4, 2021

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, Senior Program Officer for Caregiving, Health Foundation for Western and Central New York