It’s alarming to hear that over 6 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s. But it’s even scarier to hear that by 2050 there will be nearly 15 million people in the U.S. living with dementia – that’s more than double the number we have now.

For a long time, after a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, the generally accepted response has been to go home, rest, and get your affairs in order. Unfortunately, people often think there is no way to live a fulfilling life – not just for the person with dementia but for the caregiver too. The future becomes both frightening and hopeless. That’s where the Respite for All model comes in.

The Respite for All faith-based, volunteer model of care differs from the various forms of current respite models out there because we provide techniques that address isolation, meaning, and purpose in one’s life. Our volunteer staff is comprised of retired teachers, doctors, engineers, homemakers, coaches, and business leaders who have been trained in dementia care and offer mental stimulation and socialization – relationships that fill people up with a sense of well-being. There are one or two paid staff directors per site, and the rest of the team comes in every day for no paycheck. The volunteers provide one-on-one care for four hours a day.

Respite for All programs are based on a social model of care. The volunteer staff will not be responsible for tasks such as cleaning or bathing, and no medical staff is required because no medical care is given. No medications are passed throughout the day, either. Our friends living with dementia must be able to care for their own restroom needs and be comfortable in a large group setting. Ambulation requirements, along with paid care attendants, are decided by local communities.

The RFA model also incorporates the theory that we all still have something to contribute. The volunteers find jobs throughout the day to give purpose to our friends. Whether it be greeting people as they come in the door, serving a meal, cleaning up activities, or simply being a friend to a new person in the group – the volunteers help find a purpose for everyone. Essentially, those with dementia are coming to help someone else as opposed to receiving a handout for themselves.

Are you ready to begin building a Respite Ministry in your community? Our Respite for All Roadmap training teaches techniques that help provide self-worth for all individuals participating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about the RFA Model? Below are answers to some of the most common questions we are asked. But, if we missed something, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can send your message to our Executive Director, Daphne Johnston, by emailing [email protected]. Thank you!

How Do the Finances Work in the Respite for All Model?

Typically, tuition is paid at the end of every month based on the number of days participants attend, and sliding scales or financials aren’t necessary to receive scholarship assistance. The Respite for All Foundation recommends that no one be turned away for financial reasons. Approximately one-third of those participating in the original Montgomery Respite Ministry are on scholarship. Local programs will decide their fee with the direction of RFA.

Does the RFA Model Provide Transportation?

Families are responsible for all transportation to and from their local Respite community.

Does the RFA Model Include Meals?

Yes, the RFA model does include a hot meal shared with participants and volunteers. We recommend that the churches and places of worship secure a caterer, local church kitchen, or civic/Sunday School group to provide prepared meals.

What Are the Hours of Program Operation?

Program operation is highly recommended from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Identifying space that will be useable during these daytime hours is critical in the early decision and planning phases. There are successful programs that share space, but be aware that 1-2 closets are needed for supplies.

How Does the Scholarship System Work?

Local programs will decide their own policy with the direction of RFA.

*Please Note: You will also be eligible for any research RFA provides for local use of grants. For more information, contact Daphne Johnston at 334-440-9911 or by sending an email to [email protected].