Respite care provides family a much-needed break


After years of taking care of mom in her home in Colorado, Mary Clark and her family needed a breather.

“It’s really kind of a full-time job making sure that your mother has everything she needs on a day-to-day basis. Plus, taking her to the doctor and making sure that things get done,” Mary says.

When Mary, who lives in Rapid City, South Dakota, realized Good Samaritan Society – Echo Ridge offered respite care, she jumped at the opportunity. Her 91-year-old mother Beverly Clark moved in this July.

“I just can’t really get over it, honestly. To have this kind of a situation be available in South Dakota and then have the kind and loving devotion of the staff has been nothing short of a miracle,” Mary says.

Respite care services offer around-the-clock assistance for a short-term stay. The Clarks were planning on trying it out for a few weeks.

“We didn’t know how much care she needed at the time. The nurses were able to identify that for us and help us make that transition into full-time care,” Mary says.

‘We can pick up on those little things’

Beverly, who deals with some cognitive issues, wasn’t doing her laundry or taking her medications on a regular basis.

“That’s where we can come in and pick up on those little things and help them get back on track,” Kathi Mauck, Society medication assistant, says.

Kathi says her team also focuses on nutrition.

“We didn’t realize that she wasn’t eating very much. She had really kind of lost the ability to make a meal. Having her being presented with three meals a day, she started to gain her strength back,” Mary says.

Because of the increased attention and care, Mary says her mom is thriving.

“That means a lot to me to hear that Mary sees it in her mom,” Kathi says. “They come to a point where they hit a fork in the road where they need that little extra care. They just need a break. Respite care allows them to feel that comfort and safety.”

In this case, the break is leading to breakthroughs.

“My mother was not taking her medicines at home. When she got here, the nurses went through all the meds with us. They got the doctor’s orders and then they started giving her the medications which has just proven terrific,” Mary says.

‘Shouldn't have waited so long’

With the center only three miles from her home, Mary stops by two to three times a week to love on her mom with some sweets or take her shopping.

“It doesn’t matter what time of day or what day I stop by. There’s always a staff member available to answer my question no matter how small it is,” Mary says.

Her advice to others: Start planning for your loved ones early. Don't hesitate.

"We shouldn’t have waited so long to try this out for our mom because she’s thriving in this situation," Mary says. "We could not provide that for her in her own home anymore. It was just becoming impossible.”

Many Good Samaritan Society locations are ready to offer a helping hand.

“Everything was set up in the room. The bed was ready. There was a recliner. There was a big television set. A little kitchenette there. All the linens were there. Everything was there for my mom. She could just walk into it. She honestly thought she was at a hotel,” Mary says.

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