Respite for ME Grants First Year Evaluation Report

Document Type


Publication Date



Disability and Aging, older adults, aging, Maine, caregiving, respite care, rural


Under a competitively awarded contract with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, research staff at the Catherine Cutler Institute, University of Southern Maine conducted an external evaluation of the Respite for ME Grants pilot program. The 2021 Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, Governor Mills’ plan, approved by the Legislature, established the Respite for ME Grants pilot program to expand respite services to a wider group than existing respite programs through aligning caregiver eligibility definitions with the National Caregiver Program but not requiring certain diagnoses or minimum levels of ADL assistance for the care recipient. The Respite for ME Grants pilot also provides flexibility in the type of services available to reduce caregiver burden, intent to place their care recipient in a facility, and financial strain. Administered by Maine’s five Area Agencies on Aging, the Respite for ME Grants program began enrolling caregivers on October 1, 2022. Upon enrollment, caregivers were assessed on measures of burden including stress and depression, how much caregiving presented a financial strain, and other measures.

The evaluation of the Respite for ME Grants pilot analyzed administrative, demographic, and pre-post assessment data to determine the impact of the Respite for ME Grants pilot program on caregiver burden, intent to place, financial strain, and other outcome measures. This evaluation report describes the first year of implementation. the impact of the pilot on caregiver burden and other outcome measures in the first year.

Notable Findings:

After receiving Respite for ME Grants services for 90 days, the percentage of caregivers with…

  • Good or very good health status increased 6%
  • High stress scores decreased 7%
  • High depression scores decreased 9%
  • High financial strain decreased 13%
  • Negative impacts on job performance decreased 16%, and
  • 50% of caregivers had lower overall burden scores.

For more information, please contact Kim Snow at


This evaluation was prepared for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Aging and Disability Serviceswas under agreement #ADS-22-9006.

Funding Organization

Maine Department of Health and Human Service

Grant Number