Respite Care


If you’re a caregiver for someone with dementia, our respite care events are great opportunities for you to have some time to take care of yourself! While you take a break and relax, connect with others, or check some things off your to do list, Messiah’s Respite Care Team volunteers will provide two hours of fun and stimulating activities for individuals with dementia. See below to register to participate, or sign up to volunteer.

Mollie George

Respite Care

Respite Project Events

Below is the info you need to apply to serve as a volunteer or register someone you're a caregiver for to participate in our respite care event activities.

participant registration

Why should I consider registering for Messiah’s Respite Events?

  • It is a win-win! These events give you, the caregiver, a break and options for support, while your loved one can socialize with others in a fun, caring environment, where they can be themselves.

Is there a cost for my loved one to attend a Messiah Respite Care event?

  • No. There is not a cost. We rely upon donations and volunteers so that we can keep this a free service.
  • We are always grateful for financial support and donations of craft supplies, snack items, games, or other activity items.

Do I need to be a member of Messiah Lutheran to attend?

  • No. You are welcome to attend!

Is there a minimum or maximum age requirement for participants?

  • No. These events are only for those with dementia, and dementia affects a wide range of ages.

Does my loved one need to have an official diagnosis of dementia to participate?

  • No. An official diagnosis of a dementia/Alzheimer’s isn’t necessary.
  • We do suggest that undiagnosed memory issues be addressed with a physician. Some memory issues can be the result of infections or other underlying conditions and can be treated.

How often do you have Respite events?

  • Our Respite events will be every 3 months on a Saturday morning for 2 hours.

Do you provide transportation to Messiah Respite Care events?

  • No. Unfortunately, at this time we do not provide transportation.

Do I have to fill out the admission forms prior to attending?

  • Yes. We require all paperwork to be submitted prior to attending so that we can appropriately accommodate each participant attending and schedule enough volunteers.

What will my loved one do at Messiah Respite Care event?

  • Your loved one will be assigned a companion – volunteer friend – who will remain with him/her throughout their time on campus.
  • The volunteer friend will guide him/her through their choice of a variety of activities such as: crafts, puzzles, board games, cards, music, quiet time, reading, snack break, etc.

Who will care for my loved one?

  • Our volunteers will be individuals high school-age and above.
  • Our volunteers will be required to take training that addresses the various needs and communication styles for those with dementia.
  • The program is overseen by nurses and those with advanced degrees in dementia care.

My loved one exhibits actions/behaviors such as wandering and aggression at times. Does this disqualify them from the respite program?

  • It depends. Many behaviors associated with dementia are largely due to a result of miscommunication and diminished communication capacity. We would be happy to visit with you regarding your concerns or apprehensions.

My loved one is in a wheelchair. Can they still attend?

  • Yes. Messiah Lutheran Church is an ADA compliant facility.

My loved one is incontinent or needs assistance to use the bathroom. Can they still attend?

  • Yes. Incontinence and bathroom assistance are common needs for those with dementia. We have nurses on site to assist with bathroom needs.
  • We ask that you provide supplies (Depends, wipes, etc) and a change of clothes for your loved one – just in case.
  • We cannot provide support for ostomies, catheters, or other invasive care procedures.
  • We will make sure each participant always receives dignified care.

My loved one takes medication. Is there a nurse on site that can administer medication?

  • We will have a nurse on site. However, we cannot administer medication or treatment procedures. We suggest that you contact your doctor to see if there are alternative medication schedules that can be prescribed so your loved one can still attend.

May I leave campus after I drop my loved one off?

  • Yes. This is intended to be an opportunity for you to have some time to care for yourself! Take time to relax, connect with others, or check some things off your to do list.

May I stay on campus?

  • Yes. If you prefer to remain on campus, you are more than welcome to. 
  • We provide a quiet place to sit and read, watch tv, listen to music, or to simply visit with someone.
  • We also provide supportive services such as pastoral care and dementia education.
  • You are also welcome to be a part of the experience along with your loved one. 

Can I bring a helper or caregiver (grandson, daughter, friend, son, etc.)?

  • Unfortunately, no. Our volunteers all receive dementia training; therefore, we cannot accept this responsibility due to Messiah Lutheran Church’s insurance policy.

Will I be able to talk to someone who could help me with caregiving concerns and questions?

  • Yes. We will have professional volunteer staff and resources available.
  • There will be a professional counselor on campus for brief discussions. We can refer you to other services at your request.

Who may I contact if I have additional questions?

Click here to fill out a registration form for the person in your care. 

If you’ve already attended one of our Respite Events, click here to RSVP for upcoming Respite Events. Contact  Mollie George for more info.

Volunteer application

Where will the Messiah Respite Care event take place?

  • The respite program events take place at Messiah Lutheran Church in the Messiah Cafe. No activities will take place outside of Messiah Lutheran Church.

How often do you have Respite events?

  • The respite events will be every 3 months on a Saturday morning for 2 hours.

What is the time commitment to be a volunteer?

  • Time commitments vary depending upon the role of the volunteer – typically, 3 hours on the day of the respite event.
  • We do require volunteers to commit to serving at least 2 events per year.

Is training required to volunteer?

  • Yes. We educate volunteers about caring for the needs of those with dementia.

Will I be required to pay for my background check?

  • No. Messiah Respite Care will take care of these costs.

Will there be professionals to oversee the activities?

  • Yes, we have medical and educational professionals who will oversee all activities during the respite event.

Can my middle schooler sign up to help?

  • Yes! Volunteers must be 13 years or older.
  • We encourage intergenerational connections, and we can find a suitable role for your child where they will be supervised by an adult.

As a volunteer, will I be able to choose my volunteer role?

  • Yes! We have many options to choose from, yet changes may occur depending on the needs at a particular event.

If I am a “Friend Volunteer”, will I be required to help with restroom needs of participants?

  • No, we have designated volunteers from the Healthcare Ministry that will help with transfers and toileting needs.

What if the person with dementia becomes agitated?

  • We have healthcare professionals on site to handle this unlikely event, and we screen our applicants that are receiving respite services.

Will the volunteer be alone with the person with dementia

  • No, our policy doesn’t allow anyone – volunteer or participant –  to be alone with anyone during the event. Our Friend-to-Participant ratio is 1:1, and we will have additional volunteers amongst the group as whole.

Can students get service hours for serving in this way?

Is there a dress code to volunteer?

  • Yes. We will provide you with a T-shirt at training, that you will be required to wear while volunteering. We recommend that you wear pants, modest shorts, or jeans.

What if I have additional questions?

Registration Volunteers

  • Check participants in and out

Lunch Volunteers

  • Set up, serve, and clean up after catered lunch

Activity Volunteers

  • Lead a particular activity during the event

Spiritual leaders

  • Provide pastoral support and other ministry needs

Friend Volunteers

  • Guide Participant friend through activity stations
  • For full description of this volunteer position, click here.

Photography and Social Media Volunteers

  • Assist with event photography and social media needs

Medical Volunteers

  • Respond to medical needs and restroom assistance

For full details of the responsibilities of each of the volunteer roles, click here.

Click here to complete the Volunteer Application.

  • If you’ve already volunteered at one of our Respite Events, click here to RSVP for upcoming Respite Events.
  • Contact  Mollie George for more info.

Respite Care at Messiah