Have you ever felt that you, as a family caregiver of a dementia patient, need something new? You have been involved in support programs, have read articles from the Alzheimer’s Association and have made good use of their voucher program. Yet, you are still feeling drained physically, emotionally and financially. Well, there are two new programs that I’d like to bring to your attention: The Reach Program and Golden Corner Respite Care.
REACH is a clinical trial tested support program for family caregivers who have loved ones with dementia. The acronym REACH stands for Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Heath. This syllabus is run by Dr. Cheryl Dye and her graduate students. Dr. Dye is a professor at Clemson and is the Director of Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging. I know Dr. Dye and am very impressed with her.
Currently the program is being offered at the Golden Corner Respite Care center in Seneca, at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension. Participants drop their care recipients off at the activity program which is from 1:00-4:00 on Thursdays and then they come to class from 1:00 to 2:30. The family caregivers then have some free time before they pick up their loved one. The current REACH program will end April 27 and is no longer open to new applicants. However, a new program will start in the Fall. For more information call Dr. Dye at (864) 656-4442 Participants say it is marvelous.
I have observed the Golden Corner Respite Care program. This program is for seniors who have beginning or intermediate dementia. The participants must be independent, ambulatory and continent. I am so impressed by the program that I have had each of my caregiving employees volunteer for one session. I have also encouraged my clients who have dementia and who qualify, to become part of the program.
When clients come to me for care, I have noticed two things: (1) they have their own routine which often involves a lot of television and eating; (2) they have become isolated from peers.
Television and eating become sources of entertainment for clients. While entertainment has its place, alone it is not balanced living. We all need activities (whether we have dementia or not) that stimulate and challenge us intellectually, that exercise our body so that we remain agile and healthy, and friends with whom to socialize. The Golden Corner Respite Care center offers all of this plus a nutritious snack. There is a $20 per week fee that is currently paid by the Alzheimer’s Association for eligible participants. For more information call Kathy Birkett at (864) 973-7590.
The program has made a big difference for my clients who attend. They laugh and have fun and can’t wait for their next session. The program has a residual effect. At home, they are more open to physical exercise and intellectual stimulation, and they are happier people.