The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation has highlighted the initial findings of the Family and Informal Caregiver Initiative – believed to be the largest effort in the nation to identify supports and services that really work.

Knowing that as much as 80-percent of all long-term care for chronically ill and disabled older adults is delivered by family and friends, the Weinberg Foundation launched the Caregiver Initiative in 2009. The program involved 14 organizations in nine states with total funding of nearly $15 million over its three-year span.

Analyses of Caregiver Initiative data already have shown significant decreases in caregiver stress and depression. But perhaps the most dramatic result of the Caregiver Initiative is the dollar savings — for both the individual caregivers and the community-at-large – in the form of delayed nursing home placement. Applying even the most conservative nursing home costs, it is estimated that the Weinberg Caregiver Initiative resulted in a savings of approximately $38 million in either out-of-pocket expense for the care recipient/family or government reimbursement.

Among other findings:

  • 74% of family and informal caregivers are women and nearly 40% are daughters.
  • 62% of family and informal caregivers are between 36 and 64 years of age.
  • Roughly one-third of all caregivers had provided care for at least five years, often resulting in severe stress and financial strain. 

The Weinberg Foundation also hosted a reception in Chicago, in conjunction with the Aging in America Conference, celebrating the Caregiver Initiative’s results. Each nonprofit was presented with a check for $20,000, a total of $280,000, to help sustain work in support of family and informal caregivers.