Trinity Living at St. John’s to offer group respite care

Published 12:10 am Monday, June 18, 2018

Program will start in August

By Katie Scarvey
Lutheran Services

SALISBURY — Nearly one in four North Carolinians is providing care for someone aged 60 or older. And nearly half of those are caring for someone who has some degree of dementia.

Many of these caregivers are stretched to the breaking point and need some support. Trinity Living Center, a program of Lutheran Services Carolinas, has been providing just that for many years through its adult day program in Salisbury.

Later this summer, local caregivers who need some relief will have another option. Trinity Living Center is entering into a new partnership with St. John’s Lutheran Church in Salisbury to open a half-day group respite program — the first in the community — called Trinity Living at St. John’s.

When St. John’s Senior Pastor Rhodes Woolly received one of the invitation letters sent to local Lutheran churches by Christina Joyce, executive director of Trinity Living Center, he was intrigued. He asked St. John’s director of senior adult ministry at the time, Carolyn Byrd, to check into the program.

“After review, St. John’s quickly decided to contact TLC and agree to house the program,” says Diane Poole, who recently assumed Byrd’s role. Poole notes that St. John’s is committed to community outreach: the downtown church already hosts day care and kindergarten programs for 220 children and provides rent-free office and meeting space for five local non-profit groups.

Organizers emphasize that Trinity Living at St. John’s will serve the whole community, not just members of the church.

Like Trinity Living Center, Trinity Living at St. John’s will offer caregivers respite while giving their loved ones companionship and activities to enjoy. The program will be housed in what is known as “The Pit” – the lower level of St. John’s Faith Center, located at 200 W. Innes Street (the North Jackson Street entrance). Lauren Vordenberg will direct the program.

Joyce explains the difference between the two Trinity Living programs: “Trinity Living at St. John’s is a step down from the adult day services offered at Trinity Living Center. It will suit those older adults (60 and over) with some cognitive impairment who can still handle the demands of daily living (eating, grooming, etc.) and who do not need medical care.

“It would be ideal for someone whose physical needs are not great but who should not be left alone,” Joyce adds.

While TLC is an all-day program, Trinity Living at St. John’s will run from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The cost is $30 a day and will include snacks, lunch, and activities, including art, music, games and intergenerational programs. The site offers a quiet place for resting as well as a beautiful outdoor space.

Volunteers are being recruited to help with the new program, which is set to start Aug. 13. Volunteers, who need not be members of St. John’s, will help with activities like Bingo, art projects and games. No special knowledge or skills are required.

“You really don’t need a health care background, only a heart for helping seniors,” Joyce says.

“I’ve always been passionate about adult day services and just love the atmosphere and positive vibe that you feel when you walk into TLC,” Joyce says. “Group respite, with its many similarities to adult day, has been an interest of mine for several years now, and I’m very excited to see this service being brought to life in our community.”

Would you and your loved one benefit from the Trinity Living at St. John’s program? Are you interested in volunteering to help with the program? Please call 704-637-3940 for enrollment information or to explore volunteer opportunities.