Meaning & Hope Institute

We provide services and support for anyone caring for a loved one with dementia.

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The Meaning & Hope Institute is a program of Duet: Partners In Health & Aging, a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization based in Phoenix, Arizona. The Institute provides services and support for America’s approximately 15 million family and friends who are caring for someone who has dementia. In addition, we are training and certifying Finding Meaning and Hope discussion facilitators by providing them with the information and resources they need to bring this program to family caregivers in their communities.

caregiver with spouse


Our Vision of Hope

The vision that drives the Meaning & Hope Institute is a nation in which virtual and local support is readily available to help family caregivers maintain their physical and emotional health and bring to light meaning and hope in their stressful situations. ​
In pursuing our vision, the Institute is on a mission to provide resiliency-based self-care, and other support services for family caregivers who are struggling on their caregiving journey as a result of complex grief (known as ambiguous loss) that results from caring for someone who is physically present, but psychologically absent.

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1 in 9

people age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s dementia

Caregiver Graphic

15 million

Alzheimer or dementia caregivers provided care in 2020


An Unmet Need

Nationwide, the unmet need of family caregivers served by the Meaning & Hope Institute is extensive and rapidly growing. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.8 million Americans, ages 65 and older, were living with Alzheimer’s dementia during 2021. More than 1 in 9 people (11.3%) age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s dementia, and 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

During 2020, more than 15 million caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias provided an estimated 18.5 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at $257 billion. By 2050, the cost of dementia care is projected to reach $1.1 trillion (Alzheimer’s Association 2021).


How Duet is Responding

Nonprofit Duet: Partners in Health & Aging began responding to this unmet need during 2017, launching a volunteer-led Finding Meaning and Hope discussion series. The series is based on the work of Pauline Boss, Ph.D., and her groundbreaking book Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope While Coping with Stress and Grief.

Prior to 2021, Duet’s Finding Meaning and Hope work centered on training and certifying local volunteer facilitators to conduct a discussion series that teaches caregivers self-care strategies to shore up their well-being and make peace with complex grief as their loved one descends into dementia. To date, more than 200 facilitators have been trained, and more than 500 family caregivers completed the Finding Meaning and Hope program.

Thanks to a federal grant from the National Community Care Corps, the Institute is currently conducting a national pilot to train facilitators and offer discussion series in Seattle, Washington; Sheridan, Wyoming; and New Orleans, Louisiana, with an additional pilot for Spanish-speaking caregivers in Arizona.



family caregivers completed the finding meaning and hope program to date



facilitators have been trained to provide care as of today

About Dr. Pauline Boss


About Dr. Pauline Boss

The work of the Meaning & Hope Institute is based on the pioneering work of Pauline Boss, Ph.D. Dr. Boss is Professor Emeritus of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota; a fellow in the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy; and former president of the National Council on Family Relations. She is also a family therapist in private practice in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Dr. Boss coined the term ambiguous loss in the 1970s and summarized the research that led to her theory in the widely acclaimed book Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief (Harvard University Press,1999). Her more recent book, Loss, Trauma, and Resilience (Norton, 2006) was written for professionals who work with families of the physically and psychologically missing.

Dr. Boss was a visiting professor at Harvard Medical School (child psychiatry), University of Southern California (gerontology), and Hunter School of Social Work in New York City. Today, Dr. Boss continues her clinical practice, lectures and presents discussion series and keynote speeches nationally and internationally, and plays a central role in developing the methods and outreach of the Meaning & Hope Institute.

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Meaning & Hope Institute
National Advisory Council

Aaron Blight, Ed.D.
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Pauline Boss, Ph.D.
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Cheryl Goodwin
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Patricio Reyes, MD, FAAN
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Bob Roth
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Connie Steward
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Emma Vierra, Ph.D., MPH
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Meaning & Hope Institute Team

Robert Roth, Ph.D.
Managing Director
Meaning & Hope Institute
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Ann Wheat
Executive Director
Duet: Partners In Health & Aging
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Wendy Cohen
Senior Director of Services
Duet: Partners In Health & Aging
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Nichole Barnes
Senior Director of Comm.
Duet: Partners In Health & Aging
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Jennifer Kabrud
Director of Development
Duet: Partners In Health & Aging
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Julie Blake
Director of Operations
Duet: Partners In Health & Aging
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Janet Richards
Caregiver Services Manager
Duet: Partners In Health & Aging
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Justin McBride
Program Manager
Meaning & Hope Institute
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Become a Meaning and Hope Partner

To extend the impact of the Meaning and Hope program nationwide, we are seeking to partner with nonprofit and government organizations, and individuals who wish to train and certify as Finding Meaning and Hope discussion series facilitators.
We are also seeking to partner with commercial organizations that are interested in supporting the work of the Meaning & Hope Institute in order to increase the brand equity return on their philanthropic investments.
Join the growing number of organizations and agencies across the country who are helping to bring Finding Meaning and Hope and other much needed resources to caregivers in their communities. Contact Bob Roth, Managing Director of the Meaning & Hope Institute at for more information about becoming a Meaning & Hope Partner.

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