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Rome nonprofit receives $5,000 for respite care

Observer-Dispatch - 7/22/2019

ROME -- Caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia will benefit from a recent grant to the Senior Citizens Council of Rome.

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America has given $5,000 to the council to supplement the cost of the council's day-care program, which provides respite to caregivers. The money will make the program more affordable for families that pay privately for the care, said council Executive Director Susan Streeter.

The program, which started in 1974, provides up to eight and a half hours of supervised activity daily, including meals, exercise, cognitive retraining and games, for people with dementia, allowing their families to work, run errands or otherwise have a break from care, Streeter said. It serves 32 people with about 12 to 15 attending on any given day, she said.

Caring for someone with dementia is "overwhelming," said Charles Fuschillo Jr., the foundation's president and CEO.

"Once Alzheimer's disease walks into your front door and affects somebody you love or care for, the emotional and physical stress is overwhelming and respite relief is so critically important to avoid caregiver burnout," he said.

It's important to make sure respite care is affordable for everyone, Fuschillo said.

"You're going to feel lonely and isolated and you will experience burnout much quicker than somebody who engages in respite relief," he said.

The foundation gives out grants five times a year to support programs to help dementia patients and their caregivers, Fuschillo said. In total, the foundation gives away about $1 million a year. It previously gave the council two grants, totaling $10,000, in 2017, he said.

Contact reporter Amy Neff Roth at 315-792-5166 or follow her on Twitter (@OD_Roth).

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