Letter – Great need for respite care

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times

Respite care is care for the caregiver, a break from long hours of hard work day after day. At present there is no adult day care in rural Isle of Wight. How can one be formed on a grassroots level?

Say there are four Alzheimer’s families who are comfortable with one another. If two of the caregivers alternating with the other two will keep all four of their loved ones at their home for one day per week, then for two weeks each caregiver will have one day off every two weeks, 26 days off per year. By signing “hold harmless” documents, liability could be avoided.

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Say there are 12 Alzheimer’s families. If four of the caregivers alternating with the other eight at a facility supplied by a church or the county will keep 12 at the facility for one day, then each caregiver will have two days off every three weeks. Meal on Wheels, at $8 per person, could supply two meals: one hot, one cold. I-Ride Express could assist in some transport. At the same time the four caregivers on duty could become a support group for one another. If one did not want to operate in the winter, then the program would be a nine-month program.

A particularly difficult patient could not fit in this respite concept, but the idea could work in many cases. Certified Dementia Practitioner status could soon be acquired by all caregivers even if the county had to hire one in the beginning. As volunteers come on board, rural Isle of Wight could soon have a low-cost Adult Day Care Center with support of its Board of Supervisors.

Statistically, Isle of Wight has 675 patients at some level of Alzheimer’s disease. The need for respite care is obvious.


Thomas Finderson