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‘It’s All About You’ is a dream come true

Kirk and Judy House, dulcimer musicians, entertain caregivers during their trip to the Pumpkin Patch.

‘It’s All About You’ is a dream come true
October 31
00:30 2019

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

Sometimes dreams really do come true, especially when you’re as determined as Jeane Wooten is.

Wooten said, “I woke up one morning with a dream to help caregivers.” Wooten was familiar with the stress that caregivers experience and knew the Powerful Tools for Caregivers course that the Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston-Salem offers was helpful, but thought caregivers needed more. She brought her idea to Linda Lewis at the Shepherd’s Center in the summer of 2018 and explained her dream of offering a break – a respite – to caregivers that would be free and would include a local trip or activity, lunch, transportation, plus someone to look after the patient while the caregiver was away.

Lewis thought it was a great idea, except … they had no money … no transportation … and no help. Those minor challenges didn’t deter Wooten. She set out to overcome these roadblocks by seeking the help of others.

And It’s All About You was born … out of a dream and the desire of one person to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Wooten enlisted the services of Trinity Presbyterian’s Older Adult Ministry and Sue Baker, Trinity’s parish nurse. Lewis contacted Dave Abrams of ComForCare Home Care and he immediately agreed to provide respite care at no cost for people who couldn’t be left alone while the caregiver was away. Abrams said, “This is our way of giving back to the community and really help the population we serve. About 50% of the people we serve have dementia. It is one of five chronic conditions and complex situations that can wear people out, especially since most caregivers are older adults themselves.”

Tad Williams Adult Day Center, a drop-in center for adults with Alzheimer’s or memory issues, was also utilized. With care for the patient arranged, transportation provided by Highland Presbyterian Church, the ‘little group that could’ was on its way to providing a morning of relaxation for stressed-out caregivers.

It was a beautiful fall day in 2018 for the first outing and the group went to experience Hawks Pumpkin Patch where there were pumpkins of every size, color and description. Kirk and Judy House from St. Anne’s Episcopal Church provided the soothing sounds of dulcimer music. Forsyth Court retirement community provided lunch. From the smiles of the participants to the positive comments they offered – “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” “This was a much needed experience.” “Wonderful! Please do it again!” – Wooten and Lewis knew the dream idea would work and they had to do this again.

The next outing was a meditative session at the Himalayan Hideaway Salt Cave in Winston-Salem and the third was a visit to Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden in Kernersville and lunch at Kerner Ridge Assisted Living. As with the first outing, participants expressed their appreciation and desire to attend again.

Lewis has been able to secure a grant through the Family Caregivers Support Program, a federal program through the Older American’s Act and provided by the Area Agency on Aging of the Piedmont Triad Regional Council in Kernersville. The grant will offset some of the expenses, such as gas for the bus and lunch that is not covered by donations. The planning committee would like to offer the respite care at least quarterly and eventually every other month in the future. They are also open to suggestions for places for the caregivers to visit or events to participate in. 

Any person providing care for a family member or friend who would like to take a break can register to attend. As one caregiver summed it up: “There’s too much to do and not enough of me to do everything.” It’s All About You can help with caregiver burnout.

The next It’s All About You experience will be Nov. 12 from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. beginning at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1416 Bolton Street. There is no cost to attend, but reservations are required due to space limitations. Respite care may be provided. There will be a guided tour of Reynolda House, an art activity making a print on a printing press, and lunch at a nearby restaurant. 

To register or for more information, contact Linda Lewis at LLewis@nullshepherdscenter.org.

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