CLAYTON — Salem Lighthouse for Caregivers is a new ministry at Salem Church of God that offers those caring for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients an opportunity to take some time for themselves.
Available at Salem from 1 – 5 p.m. on Fridays, the program is offered without charge and is staffed with volunteers who have been trained by the Alzheimer’s Association.
“The Lighthouse program is the only cost-free service in the area where caregivers can preregister their loved one and bring them once a week for socialization in a Christian surrounding,” said Pam Hall, who teams with Cheryl Wheeler to direct the program. “The caregiver takes four hours for themselves – to go to the doctor, get a haircut, dine with friends or take a much needed nap.”
Salem Lighthouse for Caregivers provides social time for the patients, offering hand massages, bingo, devotional Bible study, movies, crafts and other activities. Advance registration is required and can be made by calling (937) 602-4227. Participants do not need to be affiliated with Salem Church of God.
“This program has been on my mind for years because I have met so many caregivers who are exhausted,” Hall explained. “Statistics tell us 74 percent of the time the caregivers die first from the stress of taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.”
Hall, who has worked with senior adults for nearly 40 years, recently retired as campus director of sales and marketing at Friendship Village. Wheeler is a retired CEO of Goodwill Easter Seals, which operates an adult day care. Both women attend Salem.
Salem Church of God is at 6500 Southway Road in Clayton. To learn more about Salem Lighthouse for Caregivers or the church and its other ministries, please visit salem.church or call (937) 836-6500.