Everyone needs a little time alone, time with friends, time for leisure, time to run errands, and time for other things that come your way. When you are a caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, it can be very hard to find that time. You may not be able to leave your loved one home alone, even for a short time. Respite programs are much needed to help address this issue, especially in small communities like Marco Island, Goodland and Isles of Capri. This is the exact reason a committed group of community folks joined together with Wesley United Methodist Church to brainstorm and establish Marco Dementia Respite (MDR).

Rev. Daphne Johnson, Wesley UMC’s pastor, several members of Wesley’s congregation and the local community team have close personal experiences with loved ones who had or currently have Alzheimer’s/Dementia. They understand the time-consuming task of caregiving and the stress it can cause and that there is a critical need for this type of care on Marco. Wesley United Methodist Church was willing to not only support this endeavor but make MDR a distinct ministry of the Wesley United Methodist church.  

MDR is a program for Marco area residents provided by and funded by Marco area residents.  The goal of the MDR program is to offer a safe oasis for Marco area residents with early-stage Alzheimer’s/Dementia and to give respite to their caregivers. One of the many exciting things about this program is that it will be provided at no cost to the participant and caregiver. Thanks to the generous and energetic folks in the Marco area, several fundraising efforts are already underway, and donations have already started to come in to support the program.  

The MDR program will open Monday, September 12, 2022. The program will be at Wesley United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall at 350 S. Barfield Drive, and it will run every Monday from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM. A catered lunch will be provided with the generous help of local restaurants.  

A Clinical Social Worker has been hired to lead and facilitate the program, with the assistance of vetted and trained volunteers.  Plans call for a minimum of one volunteer for every four participants to assist the clinical social worker and a paid home health care worker. The Alzheimer’s Support Network of Naples will provide the initial volunteer training.  Dr. Paul Nussbaum, PhD, a Marco resident who is a clinical neuropsychologist and an authority on brain health and Alzheimer’s/Dementia, is a valued advisor to the program and will serve on the Board of Directors.  

Applications are being accepted at this time and potential participants are encouraged to call 239-330-MDR3 (6373) and initiate the screening process.  Initially, MDR will operate one day a week and have space for up to 14 participants per session. The program will offer many opportunities for socialization and engagement, including brain fitness activities, memory games, arts and crafts, trivia, history, music, and chair stretching. MDR hopes to add another program day or two in 2023. 

The Board of Directors is comprised of the following Marco area residents: Tim Rose (Chair), Rev. Daphne Johnson, Dr. Paul Nussbaum, PhD, Allyson Richards, Carolee Levison, Jean Cholka, and Karen Blackwell. 

If you would like to volunteer or if you or you know someone who could benefit from the program, please call 239-330-MDR3 (6373).  Tax-deductible donations to Marco Dementia Respite can be made online at www.marcodementiarespite.org or make checks payable and mail to: Marco Dementia Respite, 350 S. Barfield Drive, Marco Island, Florida, 34145.

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