Local respite program seeks participants

The Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging’s group respite program is seeking participants in order to stay open.

Our Place Shenandoah in Edinburg and Our Place Clarke in Berryville seek participants, especially in the Berryville program, which has only two current members.

Lydia Mahan, program coordinator for the Berryville program said the program has been offered for more than a decade and can take five participants at each location. With client participation down, the program is in danger of closing its doors.

“This is a great program,” she said. “It’s a fun program.”

Our Place is a daytime respite program for people with some form of dementia, but those with other disabilities are are also welcome.

“The possible participants are fairly wide-ranging,” she added. “The main concern is will they fit into an already existing group.”

Participants have to meet certain criteria, she said, including being fairly ambulatory, able to use the bathroom with little assistance, and participatory in activities.

Caregivers drop off their loved ones at the program where they can socialize in a fun, safe environment, Mahan said. Participant play games, go on field trips, bake breakfast and lunch and do crafts.

“We really do want to try to give as much individualized attention as possible,” she said.

She added that caregivers see lifestyles changes in their loved ones after leaving the program. Participants are up and moving and engaging more than before they were in the program.

“It’s not only important for the participants, but it’s equally important for the caregivers,” she said.

This program gives caregivers a needed break, she added. Giving them time to shop, clean, socialize or just rest.

The program is open three days a week for five hours a day. Costs range between $10 and $25 per day. Costs are scaled according to income.

“This is infinitely affordable,” she said.

For more information about the program, contact Care Manager Charity Michael at 540-551-5696. A visit to one of the programs can be arranged to determine if it is the best fit for your loved one.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com