DAYBreak Respite Care Provides Activities for Those with Dementia

Program gives caregivers a break from the stress of caregiving

By Debbie Pilson

Do you know someone who is caring for an older adult with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia? Maybe you are providing care for your spouse or parent with memory impairment and could use a few hours’ break. Perhaps your loved one with dementia needs socialization and fun, stimulating activities once or twice a week.

DAYBreak Respite Care provides social and recreational activities such as music, exercise, friendly games, creative arts, special speakers, and outings for older adults with some degree of memory impairment. While the program participants are having an enjoyable time, their caregivers are relishing a few hours away from the full-time care of their loved one. When caregivers drop their loved ones off for the day, they have peace of mind knowing they will be well cared for, safe and happy.

The DAYBreak Respite Care program operates four days a week – Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays – from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., and is located on 4 ½ street across from Centenary United Methodist Church, downtown Winston-Salem. Caregivers choose which day(s) of the week they would like to bring their loved one. The cost is $40/day, which includes a morning snack, hot lunch and all activities.

The group is intentionally small with 6-10 participants each day. This allows for more one-on-one personalized attention by the staff and volunteers, and promotes bonding and friendship among the group. “It’s like family to me,” says one participant. “I like to make people laugh.”

A caregiver shares: “You have made the journey so much sweeter. Because of this program, my husband and I have a better life.” An adult son raves about the program: “What a difference DAYBreak Respite Care has made for my parents. Dad seems so happy when I pick him up. What joy you bring him, not to mention mom’s sanity and ability to regroup during those precious hours. What a gift this program has been for our family.”

Participants who enroll in DAYBreak come from all walks in life. Their life stories and experiences are extremely interesting. Even though they have lost some abilities, they can still enjoy many things. Laughter is a big part of the day in this respite program. Socialization is very important at all stages of Alzheimer’s/dementia. There are planned daily activities, but also time to just relax and enjoy the moment.

Participants have to be medically stable and somewhat independent. A pre-enrollment interview and assessment are required before enrolling in the program. A trial day is offered free of charge.

Volunteers work alongside staff to assist participants in activities, serving snacks and lunch, and interacting with this special group. We welcome new volunteers! Training is provided by the program director, but all one really needs is a compassionate heart and a love for older adults. One longtime volunteer relates, “I love it! You see the people and hear their stories. They all still have a lot to offer.” Another says, “You can just feel the love in the room. I get such a blessing from being here. It’s the highlight of my week.” They teach us continually to be in the moment and enjoy the present.

DAYBreak Respite Care is a great resource for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia and their caregivers. If you would like more information or to schedule a visit, contact Debbie Pilson at 336-397-1345 or email

Debbie Pilson is the director of DAYBreak Respite Care.


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