What if you never heard the words “thank you” again? What would this imply? Would it mean that you had lost your value and no longer had any real worth? People who’ve received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or related dementias are not only reeling from the shock of this devastating news but also begin to see subtle changes in their lives. People around them look at them in a new way. No one now seeks their opinion. Their input is no longer needed.
We know that the number of people who will never hear those words again is rising every single day and that Alzheimer’s and dementia will continue to touch lives. If it’s not a loved one in your immediate family, it’s the loved one of a friend, co-worker, or someone else you may know. Within the next 30 years, we are rapidly headed toward 13 million diagnoses across our country. That is guaranteed. RFA is on a mission to expand, and we see the need for a volunteer-based Respite model like ours being called to your neighborhood.
The Respite for All Foundation guides churches and other organizations in how to build communities of well-being and connection for our friends living with dementia. The communities are primarily run by a one- or two-person staff, trained volunteers, and the church donating the space and paying staff salary.
The Spirit of Respite
Several key features of the RFA model make it easy to replicate and sustain, including:
- No Overhead – Communities are housed in churches where space is available during the week for no cost.
- Minimal Paid Staff – Churches have armies of volunteers willing to serve if given the vision.
- Social Program – A medical staff is not needed because no medical care or meds are dispensed during the four hours of gathering.
- Daily Tuition – Fees set by local programs greatly offsets costs (suggested $40.00 a day.)
- Insurance – This is typically covered under the umbrella policy of the church because this is a social model.
- A Faith-based Volunteer Model – invites community partners, such as local churches, businesses, and private donors willing to support a response to Alzheimer’s.
What gets the ball rolling is a champion – someone like you who wants to see this happen and gets the conversations started – the champion of the cause.
In several instances, ministries within our network were sparked by the experience of being a caregiver to a parent or a spouse who learned about the benefits that Respite provides. The launch of a Respite Ministry has also come from community members seeing a need and looking for a way that the church can respond.
Anyone can be a champion of Respite, and Respite needs all sorts of ‘anyones.’
“Respite is like a breath of fresh air in lives that have gone stagnant. It is an anchor for lives that have been overwhelmed by a gulf of anxiety, unfamiliarity and tremendous uncertainty. It provides an opportunity for people who have time in their lives to pour into others, but don’t quite know how or where or what to do, which in turn provides the foundation for surprising relationships and camaraderie with those you come to serve.
Respite is defined by the prefix ‘inter,’ as in interdenominational, intergenerational, interracial, intergender (if that is a word) and inter-acceptance (meaning you are accepted at whatever point you are in life with whatever you can or cannot bring to the table). Respite is where someone who is sinking can find solid ground. To borrow an old Charlie Brown phrase: Respite is a warm blanket.”
Tricia SeayFUMC Respite volunteer and RFA Board Member
If you’re interested and want to learn more, the Respite for All Roadmap will be your guide. Why reinvent the wheel when you have the whole program already laid out? Our Roadmap is an online training program that provides the knowledge and resources to establish a sustainable Respite Community. It immerses you in strategies for program launch and longevity success. When you purchase this program, you will get instant access to six different modules that will help you take your community to the next level, which includes:
- Standard Group Training for New Directors
- Cost-effective Tools to Make Volunteer Communities Sustainable
- Shared Best Practices for Existing and New Volunteer Communities
- Coaching for New Directors
- Education and Support
- Training for RFA Communities
- Marketing Samples and Ideas that RFA Communities Can Reproduce
This intensive program won’t just help you get up and running, but it will help you enhance your program’s activities, adopt more intentional and purposeful engagement, learn more about the leading types of dementias, and so much more. For more information, or if you’re ready to get started …