Stephanie chu-oneil

March was the reopening of the Rangeley Health and Wellness senior program, HARC (Help Adult Respite Care). This program provides family caregivers with a day of relief from the demands of their caregiving roles while at the same time providing services for homebound seniors with functional limitations and/or memory loss.

This model of care is based on the Brookdale National Group Respite program which combines two key characteristics 1) regularly scheduled hours of respite for caregivers; and 2) a carefully designed program in which cognitively impaired older people can socialize and participate in a program of structured activities that are enjoyable and supportive.

Located in the lower level of the RHW Family Medicine Building, the program hours are every Wednesday from 11:00AM – 3:00PM.

People with memory loss deserve to have the highest quality services that will address their changing memory while instilling a sense of purpose in daily life. HARC provides services that focus specifically on the strengths and abilities of the group members, provided in a safe and supportive environment. Each participant will have an assessment and individual care plan which may include physical activities and exercise, musical activities, art and crafts, social interaction, therapy animals, puzzles and games, guest speakers and periods of rest and relaxation when needed, all in a cheerful setting. A nourishing lunch, snacks and beverages are provided.

The day’s activities are overseen by a well-trained staff and volunteers who are patient, accepting, responsive and supportive.

While it is important to understand that respite is not going to prevent, cure or slow the process of the disease, this program has been credited with enhancing the impaired persons enjoyment of each day while providing often much needed social interaction. It helps to maintain the physical functioning of the participants, reduces isolation for both the participant and caregiver, and gives participants a sense of accomplishment through successful participation in the program. A big focus is helping caregivers to gain a better understanding of the disease process and how to cope with their responsibilities patiently and calmly while providing opportunities for them to rest, shop, socialize, read, and address their own medical and health needs.

For many families in this community who care for a loved one with dementia, HARC has been the light at the end of the tunnel, offering support, stability and a knowledgeable and caring response to the emotional pressures and physical strains that caregiving brings.

For more information contact [email protected] or call (207) 864-9777.

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