Eva: Wants to be needed

Diane reports that when her mother, Eva, comes to Helping Hands’ Adult Day Services program she comes out in a good mood. In her younger days Eva held a very important job for a tool and die company and enjoyed her work. “When she comes to Helping Hands she thinks she is working and says how nice everyone is to work with.  Mom enjoys the social aspects of the program and I am so glad she has this opportunity to feel important and occupied.” 

Like most caregivers, Diane knows the challenges of caring for a family member can be overwhelming.  “Mom is physically strong but needs lots of supervision.  If I am working at home and I have her with me she will come to me constantly asking if she can help.  It is easy to offer her simple tasks to do like folding clothes or sweeping, but it is painful to watch her frustration to complete a simple task like folding a t-shirt.”

 “Sometimes I look at this kind lady and feel the pain of knowing that this is not the lady that I knew as my Mom.”  It is those times that the burden of dressing, grooming, and helping her mother to eat that Diane values most about the respite she and her husband get when Eva spends three days a week at her “job.”

“Helping Hands has been so great. I have absolutely no un-easiness about Mom being at the Adult Day Services program at Helping Hands.  We are so grateful to have this resource available to us.”

Marie: Loves to sing

Marie loves singing, communicating with people, and making people happy. She taught herself to play the harmonica and is an avid participant in our Music Therapy program. Marie is 84 years young, she is developmentally delayed and has several other health issues.  When Marie was 60, Jean, her sister, was looking for a place where she could give her sister some opportunity to socialize. She found relief in the form of the Adult Day Services program at Helping Hands Respite Care.

Marie’s sister Jean is the primary care-taker. Jean is a retired nurse and is close in age to Marie. For decades Jean or her parents have been caring for Marie, alternating schedules to provide full coverage. In fact, there have been only six years of her life that Jean did not care for Marie.

When Marie comes to Helping Hands Jean gets her shopping and errands done as well as attending to her own doctor visits. Providing a safe and enjoyable environment for Marie is what Jean values most about Helping Hands Respite Care.

There came a day that Marie was unable to come regularly to the Helping Hands adult day services program. A staff member found out that the reason for not attending was because of difficulties getting Marie out of her home with her walker.  A connection was made, the problem solved, and Marie was back to attending regularly.  Note: The problem was solved by one of our Board Members, Sam Tucker, who is a certified aging in place contractor. He was able to apply a reasonably priced modification to Marie’s home.  

Scott R: Wants his independence

It is not uncommon for family care givers to experience health issues themselves.  Respite can provide a vital service in this type of situation, helping both the client and the family caregiver to achieve both quality care goals and needed breaks for restoring energy.

Scott is a young man diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  As his mother, Karie, began to have difficulties with the more physical aspects of Scott’s care Helping Hands Respite Care providers were called on to provide in-home care.  Then, five years ago, Karie’s escalating health issues required her to receive care herself from Helping Hands.

Her illness and subsequent condition threatened to separate her from her son. When Karie was afflicted with a severe physical condition and had four brain surgeries, Helping Hands was the support she needed to remain with Scott.<strong> “I have been very fortunate to get care providers who are very committed to Scott and myself, “</strong>said Karie.

For many primary caregivers one of their greatest fears is the future. As part of the patient centered family care plan Helping Hands care providers have sought to consistently help Scott to be independent. This involves teaching Scott to do the activities of daily living to help him reach that independence. In the future Scott hopes to be able to move into an apartment with several other men his age.

Until Scott achieves his goals of independence Karie continues to use Helping Hands Respite Care to get needed breaks to manage her own medical appointments, shopping, socializing with friends, and even to catch-up on much needed sleep.<strong> “The care providers have taught Scott many things which are small, but added together they are very big,”</strong> concluded Karie.

Linda: Wants stimulating conversation

Linda lives at home with the help of an aide and her daughter Cheyenne who lives close by.  Linda comes to Helping Hands Adult Day Services program in a wheelchair. Not every activity is for Linda, but she loves to play cards and Bingo. Music, especially gospel or country, will lift her spirits. Linda still enjoys watching movies or game shows. Being present at the Helping Hands adult day program provides Linda with the opportunity to engage and share opinions and ideas with her peers.

In 2006 Linda, age 66, suffered a stroke which left her right arm and leg paralyzed.  As a diabetic she is insulin dependent so on the days that Linda attends, the caregivers monitor her blood sugar closely.

After having the stroke, family members noticed a huge impact on Linda’s recovery and consider the Helping Hands adult day services program visits an important part of her recovery. Her vision is getting worse making it difficult for Linda to get out without the help of aides and transportation.

As Linda’s primary caretaker, daughter Cheyenne says that having Linda at Helping Hands Respite Care permits time for Cheyenne to care for her family of four children, and to get to her two jobs.“If it weren’t for this program Mom would have to go into a nursing home,” said Cheyenne. “She gets to have interaction with her peers and that is great stimulation for her.”  

Scott M: Content and patient

Scott 42, born with cerebral palsy, is totally dependent for care and daily living activities. With all his challenges Scott is a very content and patient young man.

“The Helping Hands program has given us a chance for some normality in our lives. It has also given Scott a chance to be his own person. When he spends a weekend at the Respite House he feels independent.  Helping Hands Respite Care has been very flexible and helpful in trying to meet our needs,” said Scott’s Mom Sandy.

“Helping Hands Respite Care came to our rescue on the occasion that we have planned a 4-day trip to Las Vegas. We had made arrangements with a family friend to stay with Scott while we were gone.  Our caregiver got sick and ended up in the hospital. We got the call while we were in Las Vegas and felt helpless.  With a few phone calls Helping Hands helped arrange care for Scott until an out-of-town family member could come and get Scott until our return,” shared Dan, Scott’s father.

“The emotional and physical repair a respite weekend gives us keeps us able to give Scott the care he deserves,” said his parents.

Kaleigh: Part of a family

Kaleigh’s family uses respite time to do the things that most families take for granted such as trips to the grocery store, doctors’ appointments, attending the other children’s sporting or school events.  They even occasionally find time to do something just for fun and enjoyment.

“Time and time again over the years Helping Hands care providers have helped us get Kaleigh to a function that we have to attend and would not have been able to take her along without the care provider.  It is great to be able to have Kaleigh experience these important family events like her brother’s sporting event or  her sister’s baby shower,” shared  Kris – Kaleigh’s mom.

Kayleigh gets all of her medical needs met as well as daily bathing and hair styling.  She loves to interact with her care providers every day.  Some of her favorite things to do are sing karaoke, read stories and take long walks.

“Our quality of family life has been improved because of Helping Hands Respite Care. It allows us to function as normally as possible.  When we know that Kaleigh is happy and being well taken care of it allows us to relax and enjoy some of the events important to our other children.  Helping Hands caregivers even made it possible for us to be present at the time of our grand-daughter’s birth.”  

Adele: Sweet and cheerful

Adele is six years old. She was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome when she was three and a half. Due to her illness Adele is unable to communicate verbally and requires assistance and/or prompting with all activities of daily living. She was experiencing irregular sleeping patterns and would often wake up in the middle of the night inconsolable, screaming and in distress. This was affecting everyone’s sleep and ability to cope with Adele’s irritability. She began receiving care from Helping Hands Respite Care at the age of four.

Time for Adele at Respite House allowed her parents the time to catch-up on rest, have time for counseling, family events, and the care of other relatives.

Adele’s family has also faced other challenges.“In September of 2013 our youngest son Griffin was born with a rare condition that required him to be hospitalized at U of M NICU until January 2014, returning home with feeding tubes that require 24-hour supervision and maintenance. In home caregivers for Adele have allowed us to provide Griffin with the attention and care he needs to heal and learn to swallow and eat,”shared Adele’s parents, Nicholas and Anne. “Now we also have the time to help our nine year old son, Samuel, with his school work.”

The family and her professional caregivers agree that Adele has benefited from the care and attention she has received from Helping Hands Respite Care. She is cheerful and has been able to demonstrate improved mobility, social interaction, and made adjustments to her limitations since her time with Helping Hands Respite Care.

Rob: Happy when crafting

Navigating life for Rob is about coping with seizures that can be very disconcerting for him and his caregivers. When he attends the Helping Hands Respite Care Adult Day Services program the staff is fully versed on how to manage a possible seizure to protect both Rob and the people around him.  For his protection Rob is required to wear a helmet when he is moving about.

Rob loves to craft both at Helping Hands and at home. Prior to his physical decline Rob enjoyed restoring furniture and the precision handwork of caning chairs.  Now he enjoys crafting and many of the other planned activities in the Adult Day Services program.

Becky, his step-sister, says that the activity, socialization, the emotionally stimulating activities, and the friendships at Helping Hands sharpen Rob’s mental status.  “When Rob comes to the program he can be socially active without feeling judged, especially about having to wear a helmet,” shared Becky.


When Becky gets some time off from caring for Rob she cleans house, does errands, gets to Dr. appointments, and even does some community volunteer work. This is more difficult for her because she doesn’t have a car.  “The time for myself makes it easier for me to cope with Rob’s illness.” 

Noah: Big sports fan

When Noah’s family moved from Minnesota in addition to Noah, age seven, who was a wheelchair bound, there was baby sister Zoe, an infant, and a six year old Jonah.  The family recalls how difficult it was to be in a place where there was no extended family to rely on for support.  “It was a huge relief to utilize Helping Hands Respite Care (then called LAP Respite Care) services for brief outings that would have been difficult with Noah, who has significant needs, and is unable to tolerate long car trips,”shared Nancy, Noah’s mom.

The organization and services of LAP grew and developed over the years.  Noah and his family began to have opportunities for weekend respite, Noah at Respite House and the family with weekend getaways. “We would take the other two children on several short vacations and bike rides on the respite weekends.”

Noah’s siblings both attended college in the Upper Peninsula and graduated. For parents Michael and Nancy it would have been impossible to attend their children’s graduation without the help of respite care. “We were able to attend both graduations with extended family members for the entire weekend. What is really great is that Noah truly enjoys his time both at the Respite House and in-home with caring and extremely well-trained care providers.  We even refer to it as Camp Respite.”

In conclusion Nancy said,” …Helping Hands Respite Care has made it possible for me to work. It has given our family time to feel normal. We love being off the schedule, even for a little while.  Most importantly, the breaks have helped us keep our son at home and to enthusiastically care for him with a renewed spirit each time we get a break.”

Laurel: Ready to go places

Laurel is 24 years old and has multiple severe physical and developmental challenges.  Despite this, she is a very happy person who loves being around people. Going new places, experiencing activities and even shopping are valued by Laurel like other young ladies her age. Laurel receives both in-home care and occasional Respite House weekends. In both cases the care Laurel receives from  Helping Hands Respite Care includes the expected care supports, but also those activities that help Laurel to be part of the community.

The Respite House offers Laurel lots of attention, some fun outings and most important time with friends her own age. “Laurel also gets a break from her parents,” quipped Katie, Laurel’s mom.

For years parents, Eric and Katie have planned their rare vacations around Laurel’s weekends at the Respite House. “This is the only way we can be sure that Laurel has the care she needs while we get a break,” shared Katie.

Having respite in home care for Laurel allows her mother to hold a job and for both parents to spend time together recharging their energy.  “It is very isolating to have a child with these kind of 24/7 needs. Isolation for caregivers can lead to physical and emotional difficulties. Having respite relieves that isolation. We have been able to stay as healthy as we are because of respite care,” said Katie.