More than 130 families coping with Alzheimer’s disease will now receive much-needed support thanks to the Hilarity for Charity and Home Instead Senior Care Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Relief Grant Program.

Hilarity for Charity, a movement established with the Alzheimer's Association, led by actors and writers Lauren Miller Rogen and Seth Rogen to inspire change and raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, announced the partnership with Home Instead Senior Care to offer grants for in-home care services to eligible U.S. and Canadian families in October of 2014. Today, the first grants were awarded to Alzheimer’s families in need, totaling more than 6,000 hours of care.

“Alzheimer’s disease does not only impact those diagnosed. Alzheimer’s is a family disease,” said Rogen, whose mother-in-law was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 55. “It requires countless hours of care, which are typically provided by family caregivers – husbands, wives, daughters or sons. Without professional help, it can be impossible to juggle providing that care with jobs, raising kids or just time for yourself.”

Grant recipients will be connected with a Home Instead franchise in their community, which provide a professional CAREGiver specially trained in how to most effectively and compassionately assist individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Grants range from short-term grants of 25 hours to long-term care, based on the need of the family.

“Sometimes, just a few hours a week can provide a welcome break for family caregivers,” explains Jeff Huber, president of Home Instead Senior Care. “Having the peace of mind that your loved one is being cared for by a highly-skilled CAREGiver can allow families to focus on the other areas of their life that they may have neglected since an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.”

Research shows that family caregivers for the nearly six million North American’s living with Alzheimer’s disease today are in dire need of support. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 70 percent of working caregivers make adjustments to their work schedule including taking leave of absences, and nearly 75 percent of caregivers report concern for their own health since they’ve prioritized the care of their loved ones and neglected their own health. The added stress puts family caregivers at higher risk for many chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, which occur at nearly twice the rate.

“My family is so fortunate to be able to provide the 24/7 professional care my mother needs,” said Lauren Miller Rogen. “That care allows me to hold on to the precious moments I have with my mother so I can simply be a daughter and not just a caregiver. Our hope is that every family impacted by Alzheimer’s disease can have those priceless moments, which is exactly why we created this tremendous program.”

Grant recipient, Donna Peternell, will experience this firsthand. Her husband was diagnosed six years ago, and she has stepped into the role of being his primary caregiver.

“One of the hardest parts of being a family caregiver is simply admitting that you can’t do it alone and reaching out to ask others for help,” said Peternell. “I’m so thankful that there is a program like this that was there to respond when I needed it most.”

With no way to prevent, cure or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, Hilarity for Charity and Home Instead Senior Care have joined together to call for additional support for additional caregivers. Even those who did not receive a grant or have not yet applied are encouraged to seek out free caregiver resources available, including free caregiver trainings. Until there is a cure, there is care.

The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Relief Grant Program is funded by Hilarity for Charity donations, including the organization’s annual Variety Show fundraiser in which nearly $1 million was raised in 2014. To supplement this funding, United States- and Canada-based Home Instead Senior Care franchise owners pledged more than 37,000 hours of in-home care services, valued at $740,000. Individuals living in Canada or the U.S. and providing care to the nearly six million loved ones in North America living with Alzheimer’s disease are eligible to apply.

For more information about the Alzheimer’s Care Grant Program, including how you can donate or apply for future respite care grants, visit www.HelpForAlzheimersFamilies.com.

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