Marco Dementia Respite sprints to launch

Jill Yris
Special to the Eagle
MDR volunteer training.

Sprinting to the start date of Sept. 12, Marco Dementia Respite (MDR) is a program for Marco area residents provided by local residents, that gives caregivers a hiatus while offering a safe, enjoyable and no-cost haven for loved ones with early-stage Alzheimer’s/Dementia. With the launch date approaching, MDR announces three key points.

Along with personal donations from several Marco residents, the MDR team recently received a $10,000 donation from the United Church of Marco Island. Many local residents are aware that UCMI runs the Bargain Basket where locals donate goods and those proceeds are often donated back into the community.

Karen Blackwell is on the UCMI mission committee that approves donations. The committee heard about MDR and invited Denise and Tim Rose to make a presentation.

“We were thrilled to help,” said Blackwell, “because we know the need in the Marco area and that MDR is for the exclusive benefit of Marco area residents.” The UMCI donation is another fitting, full-circle way of locals helping locals.

Volunteers will be the life-blood of MDR’s vision of helping seniors. Denise Rose, MDR volunteer coordinator and Marco resident said, “The Marco area response to our call for volunteers has been overwhelming. We already have more than twice as many volunteers we need going through our training, supported by the Alzheimer’s Support Network. Because of this, we are abundantly blessed with a 3 to 1 ratio of participants to volunteers.”

In addition to the vetted volunteers, two employees have been hired. Mary Beth Shrowang, MSW, a certified and experienced social worker, will lead the MDR program and is currently interviewing prospective participants. Each session will also have a trained home health aide from Always There Home Health Care, who has been serving our area for over 28 years.

MDR will start by offering one session per week and hopes to increase days as season arrives and funding allows. Participants will be receiving quality care in a secure, loving and non-denominational atmosphere as well as creating bonds of new friendships as they enjoy theme days, arts, crafts, brain fitness and gentle activities.

The Marco Dementia Respite will be held Mondays, 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall at Wesley United Methodist Church, 350 S. Barfield Dr., Marco Island. Because MDR falls under the 501(C)3 umbrella of WUMC, tax-deductible donations are welcomed and can be made online at or sent to Marco Dementia Respite, 350 S. Barfield Dr., Marco Island. Caregivers of potential participants are encouraged to call 239-330-MDR3 (6373); space will be set aside for 14 participants.

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