The doctor is delivering good news to the senior patient. Senior woman recovered from illness, feeling gratitude and joy.
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Senior living operators who provide, or are considering providing, respite services for family caregivers of people living with dementia can apply for a piece of $20 million in grant funding.

The Alzheimer’s Association will use a $25 million, five-year grant award from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living to establish a new Center for Dementia Respite Innovation tasked with making respite services and service providers more dementia-capable. Of the funds, up to $20 million will go to respite providers, with the remaining $5 million being used to administer the program.

The center will be led by Sam Fazio, PhD, the Alzheimer’s Association’s senior director of psychosocial research and quality care, and Joseph Gaugler, PhD, director of the Center for Healthy Aging and Innovation at the University of Minnesota. The goal is to develop and pilot cost-efficient, effective, strengths-based, person-centered, innovative models of dementia-specific respite care.

“This grant provides an exciting opportunity to improve the quality and availability of respite care for more than 11 million Americans who are dementia caregivers,” Fazio said in a statement. “Providing dementia caregivers access to respite care can support and strengthen their ability to be good caregivers, while ensuring the person living with dementia is well cared for in a safe environment.”

Beginning in June, the CDRI will provide a maximum of 20 grants totaling $4 million annually for the next five years to respite providers. The center also will offer online training and ongoing technical assistance to ensure that respite services are suitable for people living with dementia, especially in diverse and underserved communities.

The center will place an emphasis on developing, testing and replicating new and innovative approaches to delivering dementia-specific respite services. 

Applicants for a piece of the grant funding can provide respite care in a care setting, including a long-term care setting such as an assisted living or memory care community or adult day center, or a home in the greater community, with respite care provided by a friend, family member, volunteer or paid service.

Grant applicants will be asked to identify their key quality development and improvement goals, including staff member training, evidence-based intervention adoption, partnership development with a local healthcare system or other community-based system, integration with faith-based organizations, expanded locations or flexible hours.

Applications will be accepted March 1 through May 1. Award notifications will begin June 1, with programs running July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2025. Awardees will have the opportunity to reapply for continuing funding for an additional year.