Respite House Face-Lift

Cassidy with a caregiver at Respite House

If you are familiar with Helping Hands Respite Care, you know that the Respite House is an important and valued way to provide real respite for families caring for a young person with disabilities. What you may not know is that it is long past time for a Respite House Face-Lift.

We are blessed to have the benefit of a small house owned by McLaren Greater Lansing and have been offering Respite House weekends for over 20 years. Last year we were able to replace the flooring in the living room and bedrooms. But now the kitchen and bathroom need major attention and all of the rooms need paint, decorating and window treatments.

 Respite House Kitchen

The kitMaking dough at the Respite Housechen, while spacious, definitely needs a face-lift. The appliances are all over 25 years old and quite frankly we are on borrowed time with the existing refrigerator – it has no handles is rusting around the edges and is not energy efficient. The garbage disposal is leaking, the cook-top has no knobs, and the oven doesn’t heat very well. We dream of all new appliances (refrigerator, microwave and vent hood, oven and cook-top) except for the dishwasher which we replaced last year. We would also love to see new durable hard surface flooring in the kitchen.


The bathroom is crumbling around the edges and the flooring is squishy. We would like to take this opportunity to make the shower a zero-entry-threshold, the shower enclosure tiled from floor to ceiling, and a durable hard-surface floor.

In the basement there is a washer/dryer pair of inefficient, rusted machines that chug through at least 10 loads of wash every weekend. It would be wonderful to replace those with high efficiency units. The basement does have a new heating and cooling system, but the walls could use some help with a waterproof sealant. When the new heating and cooling arrived the wiring was put in place for a generator. We would be over-the-moon if we could raise enough money to purchase and professionally install a generator.

Throughout the lower level of the Respite House we need fresh paint and window treatments (the kids are really hard on the window shades) and we could sure use a designer’s touch for homey touches like artwork, bedding, and furnishings.

Here is the Respite House Face-Lift Plan

Work like crazy to raise the funds (click the orange button to see our Go Fund Me campaign) to cover the costs of materials, appliances, and professional installation for the kitchen and bathroom projects. Hope we have enough remaining funds to go deeper on our wish list. And, we would love to find a dedicated team of volunteers to take on the project of painting and decorating. Currently our plan is to close the Respite House in late August and the first week(s) of September to complete all of the projects.

We need your help. Can we count you in?  You can help by forwarding the link to this blog post to your friends and social media contacts and round up a group of friends or associates to be part of a volunteer crew.

To learn more, call, John Stauffer, Executive Director at 517-372-6671

Dementia and Using Clocks

Photo of a memory clock - Dementia and using clocks.

Losing Track of Time:The Benefits of Using Clocks for Dementia
An article for the Alzheimer’s Association by Ava M. Stinnett

How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon? (Dr. Seuss)

What can we learn about dementia and using clocks? We know that aging and dementia-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease can cause confusion, memory loss, and difficulty performing everyday activities. Another symptom of Alzheimer’s disease involves losing track of time, dates, and seasons of the year. As the disease progresses, it may also be more difficult to differentiate between night and day.

Although calendars may help those affected, it’s important to keep in mind that a person with Alzheimer’s not only forgets to look at the calendar but they often forget how to read a calendar. For example, the person with Alzheimer’s might suppose that the sixth day of the month on the calendar refers to the sixth month of the year. When it comes to keeping track of time, a large easy-to-read clock may seem like a good idea. But your loved one may not know how to interpret what the hands on the face of a clock mean. They may ask you repeatedly what day or what time it is, perhaps because they forgot that they’d just asked you.

If a loved one can’t determine what day it is, what year it is, or even what time of day it is, how can they be expected to remember whether they’ve taken the day’s medication or if they have a medical appointment or plans for a visitor to stop by? As caregivers, we may not realize that it’s common for those with Alzheimer’s to feel confused or too embarrassed to admit that they can no longer read or make sense of a calendar, a clock, or a watch.

Fortunately, there are a variety of clocks on the market that are designed specifically to help people with dementia and using clocks. Sometimes referred to as “Alzheimer’s clocks” or “dementia user-friendly clocks,” they help those affected by the disease keep track of dates and times in a way that helps them maintain the routine, structure, and focus they need to ease confusion and anxiety.

When shopping for a clock, look for the following features:
• Clear and simple display of time, day of the week, month, and year
• Images to indicate whether it is morning, afternoon, evening, or night
• Clearly visible at night without being too bright
• Easy to set up
• Tamper-proof buttons to avoid accidental interference

There is an increasing amount of evidence about the benefits of using clocks for dementia. An understanding of the correct time, day, and date can reduce stress and help those with dementia feel less alone or lost in the past. When they are able to stay anchored in the present, independence is improved and, perhaps, they will feel as if they are functioning the same way as everyone else.

Extraordinary Program ADS Value

Participants in Adult Day Services , program ads value to life

Did you know that among the Adult Day Services programs in the State of Michigan there are just a handful that have an on-site nurse? Helping Hands Respite Care is one of those programs. Did you know that because Helping Hands Respite Care Adult Day Services (ADS) has an on-site nurse which means we are capable of offering care to individuals who might not qualify in another program because of complex medical conditions? This means that the Helping Hands Adult Day Program has an average age of participant of 82 years – the oldest in the state.

When you are thinking about an Adult Day Services Program do you ask for the care ratio of caregivers to clients? You may have found care ratios of 5, 6, 7, or even 8 clients to 1 caregiver. At Helping Hands our average caregiver ratio is 3 to 1, and when you factor in volunteers or student interns the ratio is as low as 2 to 1.

Have you been concerned about the cost of transporting your loved one to an Adult Day program? No worries, here at Helping Hands Respite Care we have transportation services available from across Ingham, Eaton and Clinton Counties to our Adult Day Services program. The cost of transportation is included in our fee structure and represents no additional cost to families.

Oh, by the way, were you concerned about the cost of food? Did we mention that Helping Hands is an authorized meal site for the Meals on Wheels program of the Tri-County Office on Aging and the cost of daily meal is baked into our hourly rate?

How this Program ADS Value

So let’s recap the value proposition of Helping Hands Respite Care ADS program:
– On – Site Nurse overseeing and monitoring health of all participants
– More clients with complex health issues may attend
– Average age of participants at Helping Hands ADS is 82, a very young 82.
– Client to Caregiver Ratios at 3 to 1 and often 2 to 1.
– Transportation to ADS program across three counties Ingham, Eaton and Client
No additional cost.
– Nutritious meals daily from the Tri-County Office on Aging Meals on Wheels program
– The hourly rate at Helping Hands ADS program is just $13 per hour, average daily visit is 3 to 5 hours.

Last, but certainly not least, if you have a loved one over the age of 60 , the Helping Hands Respite Care ADS program currently has grant funds available to provide either FREE or reduced cost to participate in the program.

For more on this extraordinary value contact: ADS Supervisor Alison Sarkozy at 372-6671, ext 107 or Alison

New Schedule More Access for Families

new schedule for supervisors, image of clock on red background

New schedule designed to provide more access for families.

Frustrated because you can’t reach a supervisor in one of our in-home programs or the ADS program? In an effort to provide more consistent coverage and access to our supervisors who are reached at our administrative offices Monday through Friday we are experimenting with a flex schedule which will guarantee a supervisor will be present every day of the week from 8am to 5pm. In the past, there were too many hours at the end of the day with no supervisor present. Supervisors Alison Sarkozy, Jeff Nunham and Tarra Boris will be working four day weeks with longer daily schedules in order to provide full day coverage throughout the week.

To reach our Respite House Supervisor Dawn Todd, plan on calling our administrative office on Monday or Friday, and Breaking Barriers Today Supervisor Kathryn Green is available daily at 372-6671 extension 106, leave a message and she will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please let us know if we are on the right track.

Hearing Aids Not Working?

hearing aid not working, close up of ear without hearing aid

If you have hearing aids which are not working and you are hesitating because of the high cost of replacement, we are pleased to let you know that there are hearing aid repair options. Soma Hearing Aid Repair has an alternative solution to the costly practice of replacing broken hearing aids. Prices for repair may range from $199 to $299 and can be a reasonable alternative to the thousands of dollars for replacement.

In a recent report in the AARP magazine there is a story about hearing loss being linked to memory loss and dementia. Don’t resist repairing your hearing aid because you may be at risk of losing cognitive ability without the aids.

This article is not an endorsement but an alternative worth pursuing. For Hearing Aid Repair contact Jeremy Nordquist at 248-719-3241 or email

Pancakes in the Mail

Stack of pancakes for Pancakes in the Park Free Tickets for Pancakes

Well, not the actual pancakes, but FREE tickets to Pancakes in the Park. Sunday June 12th is the Annual Pancakes in the Park event at Patriarch Park on Alton Rd. in East Lansing. Watch for the park sign off Saginaw Avenue near St. Thomas Aquinas Church. Pancakes in the Park are served from 8am to 1pm.

Free Tickets for Pancakes  in the Park

These tickets come to you compliments of Rotarians John Stauffer and Katie Donovan and several other members of the East Lansing Rotary Club. When you come to the park be sure to take time to experience the new play space. It is handicap accessible and has a soft landing surface. Come to the park, eat some pancakes and have some fun!

Visit play space during Pancakes in the Park

If you missed this letter in the mail, give us a call 372-6671 or stop by for your FREE tickets.