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Barbara's Story: How a Home Care Grant Changed My Life

Barbara D Dyson 2009

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August 3, 2016

“People who know little about dementia do not understand the all-encompassing stress of being a caregiver. It is too much.”

Those powerful words come from family caregiver Barbara, who cared for her mother with dementia until she passed away a few weeks ago. In this issue, Barbara shares her story—and the way in which a home care grant relieved the burden.

Mom Moves In

Barbara was pursuing a college degree when her mother was diagnosed with dementia late last year. When the caregiving burden became too much for her mother’s husband to handle, Barbara moved her mother into her own home.

“I had a lot going on in my life, but having my mom quadrupled that,” Barbara says. “Suddenly you have to take responsibility for every aspect of another person’s life: financial, legal. You have to be their health advocate. It takes a lot of stamina to get everything done.”

And, of course, family caregivers also have to provide the daily assistance their loved one needs. Providing care to a parent or spouse with a chronic disease can consume every second of your day. It can become hard to find the time to take a moment for yourself. Being stretched so thin can lead to guilt because you feel you cannot be all the places you should be, doing all the things you should be doing—especially if you have no other family members to help you, as was Barbara’s case.

Grant Program Gives the Gift of Time and Money

Several months into her caregiving journey, Barbara heard about the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Relief Grant Program , a project of Home Instead Senior Care®, Hilarity for Charity and the Alzheimer’s Association. “I belong to a closed group on Facebook for Alzheimer’s caregivers, and it mentioned the grant program so I thought I would fill out the application,” Barbara said.

The grant program awards caregiving grants to families throughout the U.S. and Canada in order to give them support and rest. Tapping funds raised by Hilarity for Charity, an initiative spearheaded by comedian Seth Rogen and his wife to raise money and Alzheimer’s awareness, the grants offer free professional caregiving services through a local Home Instead Senior Care franchise.

“To be honest, I forgot all about the application after I submitted it,” Barbara said. “Then, a few months later, I heard I’d received an award for 25 hours of care per week for 52 weeks. I called my local Home Instead Senior Care office to arrange it.”

While the award is financial in nature, perhaps the greatest benefit it confers to caregivers is the gift of time. “Receiving the grant freed me up to leave the house, because Mom was at the stage where she couldn’t be left alone,” said Barbara.

The First Thing Barbara Did with her Free Time

Barbara’s mother could not be left alone for any length of time, due to the severity of her dementia. That meant Barbara had to provide 24-hour supervision, with no time to take care of her own needs. She couldn’t even take a few minutes to tend her yard.

“The grant affected my quality of life tremendously,” Barbara said. “The first thing I did was take some time for myself. If I wanted to go down in the yard and do something for a while, I could do it. If I needed to run down to the post office, I could do it.”

The grant also benefited Barbara’s mother by providing social stimulation from someone other than her daughter. “I think the biggest benefit for Mom was the fact she had interactions with someone different from me,” Barbara said. “Just knowing there is someone there who will hold your hand and care...that means a lot [to people with dementia].”

A Multitude of Practical and Emotional Benefits

Barbara wanted the caregivers to focus strictly on her mother, so she “struck a deal” with them. “I told them I would take care of the housework as long as they would take care of Mom. And they were really good at it,” she said.

A Home Instead CAREGiver℠ provided by a local Home Instead Senior Care office through the grant program can perform a range of practical and dementia-specific tasks for you and your loved one. These professionals can offer patient, empathetic help with personal care, cooking and light housekeeping, but they can also stimulate your loved one’s mind with engaging activities, and they knowledgeably manage the changing behaviors and personality traits that can accompany a disease like Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, CAREGivers can provide emotional support for family caregivers, especially when the end stages of the disease arrive.

“It is so hard to watch a loved one waste away,” Barbara said with a catch in her voice. “After Mom went on hospice and stopped eating...she just got so thin and looked so terrible. I could not bear to take care of her at that point. It was priceless to have someone else do it.”

When your loved one enters the end stages of a chronic disease, you should not be expected to maintain the detached demeanor of a caregiver. You should be allowed to simply be the grieving child or spouse. The services provided through the caregiving grant allowed Barbara to do just that.

How to Apply for a Respite Care Grant

If you or someone you know could benefit from the assistance of a respite care grant, please take a few minutes to apply. There is still money to be awarded, and grants are made on a quarterly basis. Simply visit the application page and fill out the form. You might qualify for one of these grants:

1. Year Long Grants - 25 hours of in-home dementia care per week for 52 weeks
2. Mid-Length Grants - 15 hours of in-home dementia care per week for 52 weeks
3. Short Term Relief Grants - One-time 25-hour grants to be used within calendar year in hourly increments agreed upon by you and your local Home Instead Senior Care office

“I highly recommend the grant program,” Barbara said. “I know I don’t ever want to go through this journey again, but having professional caregivers really helped lighten my load.”

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. August 24, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Posted by Deborah Waller

    I keep my dad, who is bedridden and 92 years old and also my 81 year old husband has Parkinson's. I would like to know if there is any help available for me in this position. Thanks.


  2. August 18, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Posted by Margaret Rosseland

    Are there any grants for caregivers living with their parent without dementia or Alzheimer's?


    • August 22, 2016 at 11:21 am | Posted by Home Instead

      Margaret, Thank you for your comment, and I can appreciate your situation. The best answer we can offer is to contact your local Home Instead office and inquire if there are any assistance programs in your area. I apologize for not being able to be of better assistance, but different programs are available for different areas.


  3. August 13, 2016 at 1:47 am | Posted by ester rivera

    who pays for this? this sounds to good to be true.


  4. August 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Posted by Tammy Walters

    I would like to know if I qualify. I've had mom close to 13 yrs with the past 5 and her dementia n alzheimers and it's at its worse now! I'm disabled....10 yrs now. It's very hard on me and I suffer PTSD -severe anxiety and panic attacks. We re with an agency that's not god at all,children in early 20s if that w no experience and I get mon. Tues -wed-thur-sat from 12 noon to 5pm...IF they show! I can't take it n don't trust them with my mom. She can never be left alone,at all. Please send me an application. Moms on a waiting list for a nursing home but the wait will be long,if she qualifies at all,I should get that application in the next few days. I am at a loss with this and need more help. Thank you,Sincerely, Tammy


    • August 15, 2016 at 10:52 am | Posted by Home Instead

      Tammy, Thank you for sharing your situation, we love to hear from our followers. If you are interested in applying for a grant, please go to the following link and click "apply": We hope the best for you and your mom.


  5. August 11, 2016 at 9:52 pm | Posted by Renee Eileen N Auriliano-Laputan

    I just want to ask about the grant. I'm a caregiver for my mom and how the grant works. I don't work for any agency. Please feel free to e-mail me. Thank you for your time.


  6. August 11, 2016 at 9:13 pm | Posted by Joyce Baker

    I would like to apply for the mid-length grant. I have been a 24/7 caregiver for my husband for six (6) years with only intermittent assistance because of the cost. I would like to attend classes in the Lifelong Learning program at the local college, prepare flower beds, do some photography and just sit in a coffee shop and stare out the window. I have not been able to do anything other than household chores and care for the husband for these past six years. The stress catches up with one without an escape.


  7. August 11, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Posted by Melissa L. Dalton

    This is amazing you all are wonderful for this!. God bless you all for your amazing care for these precious people!


  8. August 11, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Posted by Mark

    My wife does not have dementia, however she needs a lot of care. Are there any Grants for people like her?


    • August 18, 2016 at 12:04 am | Posted by Kathryn Planas

      My husband is Blind with MS. I have been taking care of him for over 20 years 24/7. Is there a grant to give me along rest and help to be able to go to the grocery, get a hair cut, take some time for myself?


      • August 18, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Posted by Home Instead

        Kathryn, Thank you for your comment, we do appreciate your situation. You may find assistance with care relief by contacting your local chapter of the MS society.


  9. August 11, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Posted by Robin

    Very interesting and important program...but even if we got the grant, I would be hard-pressed to know where to begin...most of all, being the "adult" with no other family and living a very functional but 99 year-old deaf father, and my mother age 94 who is clearly dealing with cognitive issues among them short term memory loss, I am afraid to take 5 days of vacation at a distance...and worry about an emergency where no caregiver, no matter how compassionate and capable can take the place of family. But it's nice to know that it exists.


  10. August 11, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Posted by Pat

    How can you become a caregiver?


    • August 12, 2016 at 10:33 am | Posted by Home Instead

      Pat, Thank you for your interest in Home Instead Senior Care! Since each franchise is independently owned and operated, please contact the local franchise in your area about your application. You must contact the local office directly to see if they are hiring. You can go to our website at to see employment opportunities on your area.


  11. August 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Posted by Charles Matthew Olson

    I am a 49 year old man with disabilities that does not allow me to work or drive. My spouse is a very busy realtor and my doctors visits and therapy visits requires her to transport me to these appointments. I enjoy going to the library and book stores. If my wife could have one day per week for personal pleasure that would be beneficial. We plan many activities with our two children.


  12. August 11, 2016 at 11:46 am | Posted by anthony j rabideaux

    Wife becoming totally disabled, need. Assistance of financially in home care cleaning,cooking,bathing,etc. I am recovering from triple bypass surgery would be grateful of any kind of help. Thank you. Anthony john rabideaux


  13. August 11, 2016 at 11:31 am | Posted by Bobbie Sena

    Does Home Instead pay for these grants? Who pays/ if Home Instead is doing this, what a wonderful ministry. If a government agency is using taxpayer money to pay for it, I am against it!Our nation is going bankrupt because more and more citizens are becoming dependent on a vast overeaching government to provide for everybody.


  14. August 11, 2016 at 10:16 am | Posted by Tammi Rhoney

    My 74 year old father has diabetes and dementia. I applied and received a grant for 25 free hours from Home Instead to help with my dad's in-home care. The workers are wonderful and the grant has been a great blessing and provision from the Lord!!! I have a chronic illness and am unable to help my parents much physically, so we are very thankful for this grant. Also, the caregivers who work for HI are wonderful! :) My parents really love Frances, who works for them on Mondays from 11-2.


  15. August 10, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Posted by perry cope

    This program could be a "god send"for me as I am unable to do anything outside of the apartment and am a prisoner taking care of my wife 24/7 with no outside help. There are many things that require appointments with companies like taking care of the car; taking care of banking; taking care of shopping and returns, etc. these take personal time and face to face contacts which I am unable to do with my caregiver responsibilities. Please help me!


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