Treasured Times program provides care for dementia patients - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Treasured Times program provides care for dementia patients

Source: KCBD Video Source: KCBD Video
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

People go to church for a lot of reasons. In this case, it's just healthy for everyone involved.

Organizers are hoping a new program called "Treasured Times" will grow to include more people, and perhaps even more churches.

Kim White has a million things to do and five hours to get it done, thanks to a group of people who volunteer their time every Wednesday to give Kim some time of her own.

Not far behind, Janice Lee arrives with her husband Bobby. But, like Kim, she leaves alone.

Inside the doors at First United Methodist Church, there is a weekly party where the same people every week are the center of attention.  The program is called "Treasured Times."

Director Challa Goedeke explains, "It's for stage 1 and stage 2 Alzheimers and Dementia."

But this program is not just for church members, and you don't need insurance.

Challa says, "This is actually free because it's a ministry of our church."

Kim dropped off her mother, Laura Clark. Janice dropped off her husband, Bobby Lee.

More than a social gathering for Laura and Bobby, this sanctuary provides the gift of personal time to the caregiver outside.

Janice says, "It's just a time to get away."  Kim adds, "Today, it's lunch and two different dry cleaners. And while it's a respite for me, it's an oasis for my mother."

In the basement of FUMC, there is a beautiful room with a piano and a fireplace, but the real warmth comes from the half dozen volunteers who look forward every week to connecting with these seniors. They have a long list of activities planned every week, including music, exercise, art, word games, and treats. Everything is tied to a certain theme every week. We were there when they were celebrating Chinese New Year.

Four hours of fun every Wednesday, connected with music for the soul, toe tapping tunes and songs we all remember.

Janice says, "It's just a good time for both of us."

Each volunteer is trained for the patience it takes to nurture someone with Alzheimers, a disease that unthreads the mind.

Kim says, "It is so sad. I can't even make a telephone call unless my mother can be managed."

Janice adds, "I think dementia is like a robber. It just robs your life. His life has changed so mine has too."

But as Kim hops in her car, this is her time to take off and catch up on her life. She says, "Today, I need to go to two different dry cleaners and I can have lunch with my husband."

Janice heads to her car with her own set of plans.

She says, "It's time I do my grocery shopping and pick up some prescriptions."

Both are grateful that they have left their loved ones in a place where there is more life to cherish, more silly moments to be captured, more word puzzles to finish, more laughter and hugs. Kim says it gives her peace of mind to know that these volunteers truly love spending this time with her mother, and Janice says she can't believe how happy her husband is after singing old songs and making fun crafts.

So as the Treasured Times volunteers create a notebook of memories and stories which will be a gift for each caretaker, someday, the immediate gift for each caretaker is four hours of freedom every Wednesday to help cope with the difficult demands of dementia.

Perhaps Janice said it best, "It should be called Blessed Treasured Times."

Treasured Times is now taking applications for those in need of these special services.

For more information, call FUMC at (806)763-4607 or Challa Goedeke at (806)799-7421, or visit http://www.fumc.com/treasured-times/.

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