Finding weekly renewal through Journey
What is Journey?
Journey is a respite program offering a weekly meeting full of faith-based care to those with early-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia and their caregivers.
Meetings will combine socialization, physical movement, music, art, and other memory-stimulating activities. Plus, lunch will be served in a safe and comfortable environment.
While those with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their caregivers navigate this challenging journey, HPUMC’s respite program is here to offer a safe refuge, allowing caregivers a four-hour window to attend to their personal needs with the assurance that their loved one is being well cared for.
My husband, Michael, was diagnosed with dementia three years ago. Since September 2019, Michael has been a participant in Journey, a weekly respite program at HPUMC offering faith-based care to those with memory loss and their caregivers.
“I like it more and more each time I go,” Michael says. “It’s fun. And the people are good to be around.”
Michael attends the program once a week for four hours. When I pick him up, he’s animated, talkative, alert, and engaged. You can tell he has genuinely enjoyed himself.
His favorite part of the day? “Lunch,” he says. “Eating lunch with the people there and getting to know them better.”
He also really enjoys the arts and crafts, singing hymns, and the exercise program.
When Michael leaves Journey each week, all the volunteers energetically tell him goodbye. On our drive home, he tells me about the project they participated in that day.
I love everything about the program, not only for Michael, but also for me! While Michael is at Journey, I usually spend my time catching up on work or running errands. Many days, I will enjoy lunch with friends or simply relax and stay at home.
The other caretakers and I arrive at the church and wait for our spouses. At first, we didn’t talk much. Now, many of us get there a little bit early in order to visit with each other.
We share ideas, remedies, resources, etc. as well as what’s going on at home. We all agree that being a caretaker can be challenging, however, we happily accept that responsibility. Furthermore, Journey gives us the confidence and support to succeed. We are not alone on our journey. Instead, HPUMC is our community — our home away from home.