The caregiver respite program started nearly a year ago by the Boca Grande Health Clinic, now called the Forget Me Nots, is ready to expand.
BGHC CEO John Sielert said the program averages roughly six participants from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday in sessions at First Baptist Church of Boca Grande during the winter season. Summer sessions are held at the Boca Grande Community Center Woman's Club Room.
"The program fills a great need," he said. "It is designed for persons afflicted with dementia, most commonly Alzheimer 's disease."
John Sielert, Boca Grande Health Care Clinic CEO
The BGHC program, which is open to anyone, can handle up to 10 participants.
"We have room for additional participants," Sielert said.
The program goal is to stimulate cognitive skills, provide socialization and physical activity for participants while giving caretakers a break.
Forget Me Nots at a glance
What: Adult Day Respite program
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays
Where: Summer sessions at Woman's Club Room at Boca Grande Community Center
Started: Aug. 26, 2011, by the Boca Grande Health Clinic
Cost: $49 session fee (waivers given based on circumstance)
Who: For persons afflicted with dementia, most commonly Alzheimer 's disease
Forget Me Not activities include artwork, bingo, exercise (a favorite is kicking a beach ball), music and singing and stories.
"Dementia is taxing on caregivers - often family members and friends - and the program provides a break for them," said Sielert.
Evelyn Darna and Carol Lucas direct the program.
Lucas runs the programs and provides overall design and direction.
Darna coordinates all resources and logistics, including plugging in volunteers and community support for the program.
A $49 fee for each session covers activities, materials and food. Session fees may be waived based on individual circumstances.
"The program does not cover its direct cost by fees and needs additional monetary donations," Sielert said.
The Forget Me Nots could also use more volunteers to help participants, provide music, read, hold arts-and-crafts sessions and conduct exercises, Sielert said.
Donations of money as well as games, music and other entertainment are needed. Meals from businesses, restaurants and friends would be welcome, too.
"We are very pleased with the program's success," Sielert said. "It is due to the hard work of everyone who helps out with their time and contributions and the local businesses for their support. We have had great community support. We want to say a big thank you to everyone."