On our beautiful island it is hard to imagine that behind many doors there are residents suffering from dementia and all the related issues that accompany the disease. But over the past year, a new program that provides care for the patient and respite for the caregiver has launched and expanded right here on Marco Island.
In anticipation of the one-year anniversary of the Marco Island Dementia Respite Support Program, two events were recently hosted to increase program awareness and participation. The Dementia Respite Support Program is facilitated on Marco Island by the Naples Senior Center at JFCS and launched at St. Mark’s Church in November 2017.
This fall at St. Mark’s, guests enjoyed a light lunch as Dr. Jaclynn Faffer, President and CEO of the Naples Senior Center at JFCS, updated them on the Marco program. Since the launch in late 2017, two groups of 14 participants now meet once weekly at St. Mark’s from 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM on Monday or Wednesday.
Recently, at a second event at the Marco Island Yacht Club, local residents who have supported the Marco Island Dementia Respite Support Program gathered for “Thank you” refreshments and hors d’oeuvres to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the program. Marco Steering Committee leaders Judy Kenney and Brian Bremer both expressed gratitude for support from program donors and volunteers and encouraged guests to spread the word to ensure island residents, both seasonal and year-round, are aware the program is available.
The Dementia Respite Support Program is designed for individuals with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and provides a uniquely engaging four-hour structured program incorporating art and music therapy, guided meditation, movement, group discussion, lunch and Dakim® Brain Fitness™. A licensed geriatric social worker, professional art and music therapists and specially trained volunteers lead the program and provide support for participants.
At the same time, caregivers enjoy a four-hour respite from the emotional and physical challenges of caring for their loved one. For many caregivers, this may be their only “respite” during the week and, as such, the program provides a critical service on Marco Island.
The Marco Island program has the capacity to expand to three groups in the future, as more people become aware of the opportunity.
To have a loved one evaluated for participation in the Marco Island Dementia Respite Support Program, please contact Dr. Rhonda Eisenberg at the Naples Senior Center at 239-325-4444. If you are interested in applying to be a volunteer for the Marco program, please contact Marna Barany at the Naples Senior Center, also at 239-325-4444.