“It is a strange, sad irony that so often, in the territory of a disease that robs an individual of memory, caregivers are often the forgotten.”

— Karen Wilder (wife of late actor Gene Wilder)

ProChange was recently awarded a $1.8 million phase II Small Business Innovative Research Grant to continue its development of a well-being program for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias (ADRD). Their objective is to ensure these critical caregivers are not forgotten.

More than 11 million Americans currently provide unpaid care to a family member or friend with ADRD. These caregivers are over six times more likely to suffer from depression than the general population and nearly 60% rate their emotional distress as high or very high. Distress among caregivers can impact the care they provide to their loved ones and have a negative effect on their well-being and productivity. With the aging of the U.S. population, the number of Americans living with ADRD is expected to triple in the next 30 years, causing a drastic increase in the number of unpaid caregivers. There is, therefore, an urgent need for effective solutions that can integrate easily into caregivers’ busy lives and assist them in engaging in self-care to improve their well-being.

This new funding will allow ProChange to significantly enhance the capabilities and features of Caring4Caregivers (C4C), which is ProChange’s digital intervention designed to promote caregiver well-being. C4C was developed with significant input from experts and organizations that assist caregivers as well as extensive formative research with diverse caregivers themselves. After undergoing a successful demonstration project that examined its acceptability, C4C will now go through a rigorous nine-month randomized trial to examine its effectiveness.

“While caregiving can be a positive experience that brings meaning and an increased sense of purpose, it can also take a toll. We can’t imagine a more worthwhile goal than leveraging technology to seamlessly integrate self-care into the lives of those who care for their loved ones with ADRD,” said Dr. Kerry E. Evers, Co-President and CEO of ProChange and the study’s principal investigator. “We learned so much from working with the organizations and caregivers involved in our pilot work and are excited to move forward with this important work.”

The funding reported here is supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44AG076345. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.