Comedian Seth Rogen and his wife, Lauren Miller, came up with a way to turn a personal tragedy into something positive.
- Posted on Aug 24, 2017
Seth Rogen, the popular Canadian-American comedian and filmmaker, is serious about helping families caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s. The cause is personal: His mother-in-law, Adele, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at age 55.
“Until my wife and I experienced firsthand the devastating toll Alzheimer’s takes on family members,” Seth has said, “it was hard to conceive of how brutal the disease is.”
After Adele’s diagnosis, Seth’s father-in-law retired to take care of her at home full-time. When Adele lost her ability to speak, feed and dress herself, more help was needed. Seth and his wife, Lauren Miller, moved them to L.A. so they could be closer and found a live-in caregiver. The couple couldn’t help but wonder how caregivers without their resources coped. How did they hold down jobs while taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s? How were they able to do it all and still care for themselves?
Lauren and Seth contacted the Alzheimer’s Association to see how they could help. “Seth wanted to do something that was fun and informational for caregivers who were struggling,” said Monica Moreno, senior director of care and support for the Alzheimer’s Association. The majority of people who develop Alzheimer’s are over 65, but there is also a percentage of those under 65 who develop the disease, which means caregiving can reach down into the millennial generation.
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“This younger generation may see that this is going to affect their parents or their grandparents,” says Moreno, “and the Rogens were interested in helping them.”
In 2011, Seth and Lauren teamed up with the Alzheimer’s Association to start Hilarity for Charity, an annual star-studded variety show to raise money for Alzheimer’s research and awareness. The Rogens then went a step further. They partnered with Home Instead Senior Care to create the Alzheimer’s Care Grant Program, which awards in-home care grants to families who qualify.
The recipient gets matched with a nearby Home Instead caregiver who is professionally trained to assist people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Since the program started, Hilarity for Charity and Home Instead have awarded nearly 200,000 hours of in-home care to families in the U.S. and Canada.
Anyone who is currently caring at home for someone with Alzheimer’s and is facing financial hardships is eligible to apply. The program provides grants for 25 hours a week for a year; 15 hours a week for a year; or a onetime 25-hour grant used in hourly increments. When awarding grants, a care relief advisory board looks for indicators including diagnosis, financial need, emotional need and access to social support.
“We want to be able to improve the quality of life for families who are struggling to cope with Alzheimer’s many challenges. Even just a few hours of help a week from outside caregivers can provide a welcome break,” Seth has said.
The grant program has been life-changing for many of its recipients. “When our caregiver arrives, I am able to leave with peace of mind,” reads one comment on the Hilarity for Charity website. “Thanks from the bottom of my heart for providing funds for our ‘angel’ each week.” Another added, “Please accept my total gratitude for the chance to join humanity again.” For more information about Hilarity for Charity and about how you can apply for a care grant, go to helpforalzheimersfamilies.com.
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