Ministries & Programs
What is Respite Care?
Respite Care offers support to family members who are caring for a loved one, so they may take a short break from their daily care and responsibilities. “Respite” is a gift of time for a caregiver so that a husband, wife, daughter, son or other relative can have some welcome personal time for self and maintain their other important connections.
Trained Village Church volunteers, called Respite Friends, make regular visits to the family’s residence, ranging from two to four hours. They offer friendship, compassion, and a faith connection to one who is receiving care. It is also comforting for a caregiver to know that a caring volunteer is there to stay with their loved while they are away. Visits may include:
- Conversation and reminiscing
- Reading books, magazines, or the newspaper
- Listening to or playing music
- Playing board games
- Quiet time together, laughter and sharing
• Reading a sermon or prayer and scriptures.
Why Respite Care Matters
Caring for a loved one of any age with a chronic illness, disability, or other health condition that requires ongoing care can be rewarding, yet also challenging. There may be few or no opportunities to have time for self. Family caregivers often put their own health and needs on hold, which then puts them at an increased risk for health problems, especially stress, depression, and physical fatigue.
Respite Care support makes a difference by giving primary family caregivers a break. It can give you or a caregiver you know an opportunity to try and have a healthier balance between caring for a loved one and tending to one’s own personal needs. Taking time for yourself can help to renew one’s spirit, strength, and energy. Among ways that respite time may be used include having lunch with a friend, running errands, attending a class, maintaining a favorite hobby or volunteer activity, or keeping a medical appointment.
Respite Care Ministry is here to help care for those who care for others. It does take a Village! For more information, please contact: Rev. Jay McKell, 913-671-2347 or email.
Families Receiving Respite Care
(From a wife)
“Having a Respite Care volunteer visitor has been a big boost for my husband. He no longer drives and is running out of things to do here at home. His Respite Friend brings him friendship and a new outlet for a life of his own. The loving, caring, interesting people who serve as Respite Care volunteers are a wonderful blessing in our lives.”
(From a wife)
“I am so thankful for Respite Care! My husband and I say thank you to Respite Care and to Village Church for offering this service to us. I feel so much better after getting out for a couple of hours! My two Respite Friend volunteers alternate weeks for visits, and I am so grateful to them for giving up their special time. I cannot express my appreciation enough.”
(From a daughter)
“The Respite Care volunteers for my mother have been a special gift for both of us. Their cheerful willingness to come in and give me a break from the routine allowed me to relax and have time for myself, without worry over the situation at home. Mom understands them to be her friends from the Church, and she always enjoyed their visits. They shared a meal or a snack with her, played games, listened to music, or watched an old movie together. It was good for her to have loving friends to spend time with her.”
(From a husband)
“We have had Respite Care support provided by the church for approximately three years. The ladies that come to our home have provided outstanding care for us through their visits with my wife. We have told several Village Church members and members of other churches about Respite Care. Their responses have either been that they did not understand what a great program this was or that they wished their church provided this type of support. Village Church is to be commended for this outstanding program. We are very pleased.”
(From a care receiver at home)
“My Respite visitors have expressed caring concern, warm friendship, willingness to share similar interests, and empathetic listening. I look forward to each visit and what next adventure we will share. This is an invaluable gift. I’m so grateful for their generous sharing of their time.”
(From a care receiver on chemo treatments at a cancer center)
“Although my wife took sick leave during my treatments, having a Respite Friend be with me at the cancer center allowed her to keep in contact with her work friends. My volunteer was an emotional ‘blanky’ (blanket) for me. I didn’t feel as if I was going through the infusion alone. We talked and yet, we also had quiet times if I wanted them. The gift of presence. It helped me not to focus on what was going on around me (the other patients.) My Respite Friend helped me to grow a bit more in the receiving of another’s gift. I think it made her feel good, too, that she could help me.”
Respite Friend Volunteers
“My care receiver has a great sense of humor, and I love to hear her laugh. I hope that I am helping the couple I visit, but I really think they help me more because they have such a wonderful attitude. The devotion he has for his wife is beautiful to see.”
“The pleasure of Respite Care is the heartfelt thanks expressed by both the caregiver and the care receiver as you finish your visit and hear ‘I look forward to seeing you again.”
“A good experience for the heart is to help someone. When doing Respite Care, I know I am helping two people: the caregiver and the care receiver.”
“I have been a member here for 30 years, and this is the most rewarding experience I have had. It is so nice to get acquainted with more people at Village Church . . . . my Respite Care families and other volunteers. Being a Respite Friend has enriched my life.”
Caring for a Loved One
Caring for a loved one who has a chronic illness or disability can be one of the greatest gifts you give, but it can also be very challenging. There may be physical and emotional strains for those who are in a caregiving role on an ongoing basis. It can mean assuming a new role and most likely, a role that was unexpected and a role that was not planned for. There can be many additional responsibilities, losses, and a shift in roles for both a caregiver and a care receiver.
Family caregivers of any age are less likely than non-caregivers to practice preventive healthcare and to work at creating a balance in their lives, so their health and well being become more at risk. Caregivers report that their most frequent unmet needs are time for self, managing stress, balancing work and family responsibilities, identifying resources, long distance caregiving, and affordable respite.
As our population ages, caregiving is a responsibility that is expected to touch nearly all families.There are 65 million Americans who are providing some level of care for a relative or friend or neighbor during any given year (or 29% of the population.) We perform many roles in caring for a loved one by offering physical care, household help, financial support, transportation, and emotional and spiritual support. The direct care and support by family caregivers represent 80% of all home care services being provided in our country. (statistics from Caregiving in the U.S., a study by the National Alliance on Caregiving and AARP, 2009.)
Why Is It Difficult to Ask for Help?
Many of us find it easier and are more comfortable in the role of giving to others rather than asking for help for ourselves. From childhood we learned “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Those in caregiving situations may be reluctant to ask others for help because they feel it is imposing on friends or family who appear to them to be very busy already. They may worry that a loved one won’t be comfortable with others or that no one else can provide care as well as that family caregiver. Perhaps they don’t know who to turn to for support. There may be concerns about privacy issues, or a caregiver may choose not to depend upon others because he or she strongly values being independent. A family caregiver may also feel a strong commitment to caring for a loved one because that has always been their role as a husband, wife, adult child, or parent, and that role is a deeply rewarding one.
“However, there are times in our
lives when the Lord intends for
us to be on the receiving end,
and He brings loving, compassionate
people into our lives for that purpose.
Lord, help me find a way to give
To someone every day I live,
But show me so that I believe
Sometimes You want me to receive.”
From: Forty Days of Care for the Caregiver by Dr. Vicki L. Gilliam
Honor Your Gifts
"Though we may have many qualities
in common, no two caregivers are
alike. Each of us has special gifts
that we bring, gifts offered by no one
else in quite the same way. Are we
aware of what is special about us?
Are we aware of our uniqueness?
Are we aware that we offer God a
way of being present to this particular
person that is not possible through
124 Prayers for Caregivers, Joan Guntzelman
The following resources are available in Respite Care Ministry Office, Room 212c in Pastoral Care and Counseling, or on our mobile Resource Center. Please call to inquire: 913.671.2370.
Community resource information, including community directories of services and supports
Caregiving brochures from the National Family Caregivers Association
Carenotes booklets on a variety of topics
DVD series: The Educated Caregiver (for check-out)
Alzheimer’s Disease information
Preventing Falls information
The Older and Wiser Driver (brochures from the Foundation for Traffic Safety)
Vial of Life and File of Life kits to be placed in home (this is a way to provide vital information to emergency responders when a medical emergency occurs.)
Emergency cards to be carried in wallet or in car (this is a way to provide emergency contact information and medical conditions when a person of any age is away from home)
“Caring Conversations” workbook from the Midwest Bioethics Center (for Last Acts of Love planning)
Village Church guide: “Last Acts of Love: Preparing and Planning for Death”
What Happens After a Request for Respite Care Is Made?
1. Home Visit is scheduled with the family. I gather information through discussion and our In-Home Assessment to learn more about the needs of both the family caregiver and the loved one who receives care and to determine eligibility for visits. This initial visit is usually one of one and half hours in length. It also offers a time for the family to ask specific questions about Respite Care visits.
2. Following this home visit, I write up a confidential “Family Profile” which is a summary of the In-Home Assessment information. The focus is on information that will be helpful to and relevant for volunteers, known as Respite Friends, to know. This Family Profile is then sent to the family for their review and approval and that so changes/updates can be made. The caregiver then returns the Family Profile or verbally communicates approval or the need for changes.
3. A Respite Friend or a team of Respite Friends is then contacted and asked about being matched with a specific family. A volunteer(s) is given a copy of the confidential Family Profile to review. The Respite Friend and Respite Care Coordinator may visit on the phone or meet in person to talk about the match.
4. If family and Respite Friend(s) agree to the match and if a compatible schedule can be developed, a time for a Get Acquainted Visit is set. This introductory get-together is for the volunteer(s,) caregiver, care receiver, and Respite Care Coordinator to meet; this takes approximately one hour. This meeting provides an opportunity for Respite Friend(s) and family to be introduced, share, ask questions, talk about needs and interests, and become familiar with the home setting (including any pets.) This introductory visit helps to increase everyone’s comfort and confidence levels. We also identify where emergency information is kept or posted in the home. It is also a time to confirm a schedule, whether the day and time for visits will be the same each week or if visits are preferred on a flexible, occasional, or as-needed basis.
The family is given a Respite Care Ministry Folder, which includes the confidential Family Profile, contact information for volunteers, Village Church telephone numbers, “Family Guidelines,” and “Do’s and Don’ts for Volunteers.” The volunteer receives a Respite Friend Folder, which includes the confidential Family Profile, timesheets/logs, envelopes, reminder tips for visits, and a list of Respite Care Team contacts if applicable.
5. Visits begin! Follow-ups and monitoring are done with family and with volunteers through telephone calls, emails, and review of logs/timesheets.
Contact: Rev. Jay McKell, 913.671.2347 or email.
Volunteer to Serve as a Respite Friend
Do you enjoy making new connections and visiting with people? Please consider becoming trained to serve as a Respite Care volunteer so that we may reach out to be there when families ask for our support. Volunteers make short home visits and may engage in conversation, reminiscing, listening to music, reading, sharing your connection with Village Church, or quiet time together. No medical care is provided during Respite Care visits. You may be matched individually with a Respite Care family or you may become part of a Respite Care team where you share a schedule of visits with another volunteer. Most volunteers average about six hours each month for their visits. Your presence and compassionate care are what matter. You will be strengthening a family and helping to lift up both a family caregiver and a care receiver. It is a very rewarding and valuable experience.
• Respite Care volunteer training manual
• 3 hours of class time
• Individualized training with a confidential Family Profile
• “Get Acquainted” visit when you are matched with a family
Volunteers also have an opportunity to attend regular Respite Friend meetings in order to share, support, and learn from one another.
To learn more or to apply to become a Respite Friend, please contact Rev. Meg Peery McLaughlin, 913.671.2375 or e-mail.