BOSTON, 25 November, 2019 - Global health service company Cigna and the Cigna Foundation will offer a total of $50,000 in funding to help advance the work of non-profit organizations in Massachusetts that support the health and well-being of unpaid family caregivers.
In Massachusetts, 840,000 individuals are unpaid caregivers1; and, as the population continues to age, that number is expected to rise significantly. Caregivers often step into their role quickly and with little preparation, which places a burden on their own health and well-being.
Caregiving can take a significant physical and emotional toll. According to studies cited by the Family Caregiver Alliance2:
- One-tenth (11%) of caregivers say that caregiving has caused their health to decline.
- Nearly three-quarters (72%) say they don’t go to the doctor as often as they should, and more than half (55%) have missed a medical appointment.
- About a quarter (26%) say it’s hard on them emotionally; they also have higher stress levels and say caregiving makes them feel frustrated, angry, drained, guilty or helpless.
- An estimated 40% - 70% have clinically significant symptoms of depression.
- Women who spend 9+ hours a week caring for an ill or disabled spouse increase their risk of heart disease two-fold. One-fifth (21%) of women caregivers say they have mammograms less often.
The financial support from Cigna and the Cigna Foundation will help address these challenges by funding programs that make preventive and respite care more accessible and affordable for caregivers, and enable caregivers to take better care of their own existing health conditions.
“It’s very common for spouses and other caregivers to focus on their loved ones first while putting their own needs last,” said Mark Butler, president of Cigna New England. “We hope to change that dynamic through this funding and help caregivers realize they can’t do their best for their loved ones when they feel depleted and their own physical and emotional needs aren’t being met.”
The deadline to submit a proposal is April 15, 2020. To learn more about eligibility criteria, non-profit organizations should email CignaNewEnglandCares@cigna.com.
Cigna is a founding member of the recently-announced Massachusetts Caregiver Coalition, a collaboration of businesses from diverse industry sectors that is working with the state to assess and address the needs of unpaid family caregivers in Massachusetts.
About the Cigna Foundation
The Cigna Foundation, established in 1962, is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE:CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna employees live and work.
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to improving the health, well-being and peace of mind of those we serve. Cigna delivers choice, predictability, affordability and access to quality care through integrated capabilities and connected, personalized solutions that advance whole person health. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America, Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York, Express Scripts companies or their affiliates. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in over 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 165 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.
1 AARP Public Policy Institute, Number of Family Caregivers, Hours, and Economic Value of Caregiving, by State, 2017: https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2019/11/family-caregivers-data-by-state.pdf
2 Family Caregiver Alliance in cooperation with California’s Caregiver Resource Center and reviewed by Moira Fordyce, MD, MB, ChB, Caregiver Health: https://www.caregiver.org/caregiver-health