Friends in Christ United Methodist Church (UMC) in Fillmore, New York, is the latest church to partner with the WNY Alzheimer's Caregiver Partnership (WNYACP) to offer a free caregiver respite program. The program will begin Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The respite program will be open to individuals with Alzheimer's disease or any dementia every third Wednesday of the month at Friends in Christ UMC, 25 Minard St.
Trained volunteers will provide fun, supervised activities and a meal to keep a loved one purposefully occupied while their caregiver takes a much needed break. The program fulfills WNYACP's mission to reduce caregiver burden and burnout, and to improve the lives of caregivers and the lives of their loved ones.
"There is a growing need for caregiver support in our communities," said Ann Marie Doetterl, regional director of the WNYACP grant at Catholic Charities of Buffalo. "Our vision is to create supportive, dementia-friendly communities that reduce burden and prevent burnout through a strong partnership of professional service providers and community volunteers."
Registration for the respite program is required. Call Pastor Nancy Russell at (585) 567-2293 for more information or to register your loved one.
Additionally, in neighboring Cattaraugus County, Christ UMC in Olean offers a free respite program called Caring HEART (Helping Ease Alzheimer's Respite Team) the second Wednesday of each month from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the church, 633 Linwood Ave. The program is facilitated by trained volunteers, and is open to the community.
To register your loved one for the Caring HEART program, call Leona Fisher at (716) 373-9893.
For those in Genesee County, Indian Falls UMC holds a free monthly respite program called Caring Hearts and Hands. The program is offered the third Wednesday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church, 7908 Alleghany Road, Corfu.
For more information or to register your loved one for Caring Hearts and Hands, please contact Celinda McQuistion at (585) 478-8188.
Volunteers are being sought for all three respite programs, but especially for the Christ UMC in Olean where the need is urgent. To inquire about volunteering, call the program for which you'd like to volunteer at their respective phone number.
WNYACP, an initiative of Governor Andrew Cuomo, is funded by a New York State Department of Health grant. The partnership assists caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's or other dementia with care consultation and assessment, caregiver support groups, caregiver education, respite assistance, enrichment events, caregiver events and transportation. WNYACP also offers a variety of volunteer opportunities. Partners of WNYACP are Catholic Charities; Alzheimer's Association, WNY Chapter; and the County Offices for the Aging in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara and Wyoming Counties. WNYACP serves residents of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara and Wyoming counties. Call 800-342-9871 (NYConnects) for assistance or go to wnyacp.org