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Lebanon Respite Day Care for Adults Resumes

  • Activities Director Cheyrl Fogwill laughs as Richard Brown, of Enfield, N.H. gives Thomas Tisza, of Hanover, N.H., a pat on the head at the VNA Good Day Respite program on May 2, 2014 in Lebanon, N.H. Laurie Desgroseilliers of the VNA helps Tisza plant flower seeds. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Activities Director Cheyrl Fogwill laughs as Richard Brown, of Enfield, N.H. gives Thomas Tisza, of Hanover, N.H., a pat on the head at the VNA Good Day Respite program on May 2, 2014 in Lebanon, N.H. Laurie Desgroseilliers of the VNA helps Tisza plant flower seeds.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Activities Director Cheyrl Fogwill asks Thomas Tisza, of Hanover, N.H., if he would like to wash his hands after he finished painting at the Methodist Church in Lebanon, N.H., on May 2, 2014. Behind them is Anthony Janoo of Lebanon, N.H. The men were participating in the VNA Good Day Respite program on May 2, 2014. They were taking a stroll in the building after planting flower seeds and painting. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Activities Director Cheyrl Fogwill asks Thomas Tisza, of Hanover, N.H., if he would like to wash his hands after he finished painting at the Methodist Church in Lebanon, N.H., on May 2, 2014. Behind them is Anthony Janoo of Lebanon, N.H. The men were participating in the VNA Good Day Respite program on May 2, 2014. They were taking a stroll in the building after planting flower seeds and painting.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Activities Director Cheyrl Fogwill laughs with Thomas Tisza of Hanover, N.H., on May 2, 2014, at the Methodist Church in Lebanon, N.H. Tisza is a client in the VNA Good Day Respite program.<br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Activities Director Cheyrl Fogwill laughs with Thomas Tisza of Hanover, N.H., on May 2, 2014, at the Methodist Church in Lebanon, N.H. Tisza is a client in the VNA Good Day Respite program.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Activities Director Cheyrl Fogwill laughs as Richard Brown, of Enfield, N.H. gives Thomas Tisza, of Hanover, N.H., a pat on the head at the VNA Good Day Respite program on May 2, 2014 in Lebanon, N.H. Laurie Desgroseilliers of the VNA helps Tisza plant flower seeds. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Activities Director Cheyrl Fogwill asks Thomas Tisza, of Hanover, N.H., if he would like to wash his hands after he finished painting at the Methodist Church in Lebanon, N.H., on May 2, 2014. Behind them is Anthony Janoo of Lebanon, N.H. The men were participating in the VNA Good Day Respite program on May 2, 2014. They were taking a stroll in the building after planting flower seeds and painting. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Activities Director Cheyrl Fogwill laughs with Thomas Tisza of Hanover, N.H., on May 2, 2014, at the Methodist Church in Lebanon, N.H. Tisza is a client in the VNA Good Day Respite program.<br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

Lebanon — In one corner of the vestry of the United Methodist Church on School Street on Friday morning, licensed nursing assistant Cheyrl Fogwill welcomed two regulars back to Good Day Respite, a weekly adult day care for seniors with mild dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In another corner, Kulli Bloom, community health services manager of the Lake Sunapee Region Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, talked with a relative of a potential new client about the kinds of activities included in the five-hour Friday sessions, which are meant to provide time for caregivers — such as spouses and adult children — to rest, run errands or simply have some time to themselves.

Gal Matthews, Wilmot, N.H., relied on the twice-a-week session the VNA offers in New London until Glenn, her husband of 54 years, died of Alzheimer’s disease last year at 76.

“Until last year, I took care of him at home without any help,” Matthews said Friday in an interview at the church. “I was determined to take care of him, because he took care of me. But it finally got to the point, I would take Glenn everywhere with me — my doctor’s appointments, or shopping, because he couldn’t be left alone. We’d be in Hannaford’s, I’d take a bottle of pickles off the shelf, and he’d be gone.”

Matthews learned about Good Day Respite’s Monday and Thursday sessions in New London while preparing a book about the five-year progression of her late husband’s illness. She found instant relief from the strains of being a primary caregiver.

“He would go to this respite, and always came home with a smile on his face,” Matthews said. “He’d be talking with a teacher and a professor and a doctor. They would do crafts like stringing beads. It used to bother me when he’d bring them home, and it was like something a child would do at school or day care. Then I saw how happy he was.

“Now that he’s gone, those are my absolute treasures.”

Matthews was in Lebanon on Friday to help promote the re-opening of the Lebanon program, which went on hiatus after Fogwill took a break for health reasons.

“For five hours, all was well,” Matthews said of her husband’s regular outings. “He was cared for, he was looked after.”

At the end of Friday’s five-hour session in Lebanon — during which the VNA waived the weekly fee of $40 for the open house — five caregivers had inquired about the program and at least three had committed to bringing their loved ones regularly, Lake Sunapee VNA development officer Cathy Raymond said.

“A lot of caregivers are hesitant to leave them off at first,” said Fogwill, who became activities director of the New London church’s respite sessions in 2005 and stayed aboard when the VNA took them over in 2010. “If they make that first step out the door, they will never regret it.”

In addition to mid-morning refreshments, lunch, arts-and-crafts activities and socializing, the respite program welcomes volunteer musicians, artists and owners of therapy animals.

On Friday, a resident of the Quail Hollow community in West Lebanon played old standards on the vestry piano.

“We like to laugh,” said Fogwill, who worked with Glenn Matthews in New London. “We like to have fun. We don’t want them to sit inside four walls and (twiddle their thumbs). I remember the daughter of one of our regulars came in and saw her mother dancing and singing here, and she said, ‘My mom doesn’t do that at home.’”

The VNA’s licenses in New London and Lebanon allow them to provide day care for up to 12 clients each day. Before Fogwill’s hiatus, the Lebanon respite had averaged between three and five regular clients a week, while each of the two New London sessions draws about eight adults.

While Fogwill and her VNA volunteers do not provide medical care at these sessions, they do observe their clients closely.

“It gives the nurse a chance to see something that isn’t noticed at home,” said Carla Skinder, a registered nurse and the administrator of The Woodlands at Harvest Hill senior-living community in Lebanon. “It’s a great way to keep them well. It’s another set of eyes for people who are already stretched pretty thin.”

Skinder, who ran the adult medical day-care program for Valley Regional Hospital for 11 years, brought several residents of The Woodlands to Friday’s open house.

“This would be good for a number of them,” Skinder said. “We will get them here, if I have to get a sleigh out in the winter.”

Bloom said that the Lebanon Senior Center provides volunteer drivers who can bring residents to the respite sessions if their caregivers cannot or if the timing of the sessions — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — conflicts with their schedules. She added that the VNA offers “scholarships” for families of elders who cannot afford the weekly $40 fee.

“We don’t want resources to be a barrier for anyone,” Bloom concluded. “We’re trying to reduce all the barriers.”

(More information about Good Day Respite is available at lakesunapeevna.org/services/respite.php)

David Corriveau can be reached at dacorriveau@gmail.com and at 603-727-3304.

CORRECTION

Licensed nursing assistant Cheyrl Fogwill is activities director for the Good Day Respite program in Lebanon. Her first name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story and its photograph captions.