Marco Dementia Respite launches successfully to a full house

Jill Yris
Special to the Eagle
During the four hours that participants attended MDR, there were new friendships formed, clapping and encouragements and much laughter.

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.

“September 12 was an historic day for MDR, to say our inaugural session was a resounding success would be a serious understatement,” said Marco Island resident and Chair of MDR Tim Rose. “Today we celebrate that we all are kindred spirits and should treat each other with understanding and humanity every day we’re lucky enough to share with each other.”

During the four hours that participants attended MDR, there were new friendships formed, clapping and encouragements and much laughter. First the caregiver signed in and acknowledged that they would return while the participant had their temperature taken because MDR has a great care for personal safety. The caregiver left and an aide guided each participant to the area with other participants, volunteers, the social worker and home health care aide.

The theme for the inaugural session was Getting to Know You. The nurturing, loving environment allowed participants to relax while enjoying activities such as a Day in History, playing ring toss, listening to music, eating a healthy lunch, which is critical to maintaining cognitive health, and ending the session singing “See You Later, Alligator.”

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"The need for a respite is so great here that Wesley UMC felt as if we were being called into this type of ministry. At the same time, others on the island were also realizing the need for this kind of ministry and we feel as if we were brought together by God to fulfill this need," said Rev. Daphne Johnson, from Wesley United Methodist Church, who included MDR in a special September 11 blessing ceremony. "We did this to first, ask God's blessings upon the ministry and all who are involved but also it gives a validation to the people who were there to realize that God is working in this and, because of that, we must step up and work through it as well."

Although Monday sessions are at capacity, MDR has a wait list and hopes to increase days as season arrives and funding allows.

The Marco Dementia Respite program is held Mondays, 10:30 a.m. to 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 critical to allow MDR to continue and expand and can be made online at or sent to Marco Dementia Respite, 350 S. Barfield Dr., Marco Island, Fl 34145. Caregivers of potential participants are encouraged to call 239-330-MDR3 (6373) to begin the screening process and secure a place on the wait list for when MDR expands.

For additional information, contact MDR at 239-330-MDR3 (6373).