Respite care provides family a much-needed break

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

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

When Mary, who lives in Rapid City, South Dakota, realized Good Samaritan Society – Echo Ridge offered respite care, she jumped at the opportunity. Her then 91-year-old mother Beverly Clark moved in July of 2022.

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

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,” Mary said. “The nurses were able to identify that for us and then help us make a transition into full-time care.”

Noticing the little things

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

“We can pick up on those little things and help them get back on track,” Kathi Mauck, a medication assistant, said.

Kathi’s team also focuses on nutrition.

“We didn’t realize that she wasn’t eating very much,” Mary said. “She had lost the ability to make a meal. With three meals a day, she started to gain her strength back.”

Because of the increased attention and care, Beverly was thriving.

“They come to a point where they need that little extra care,” Kathi said. “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 medications at home,” Mary said. “When she got here, the nurses went through all the meds with us. They got the doctor’s orders and started giving her the medications, which has just proven terrific.”

Thriving in a new environment

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

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

Mary’s 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 Mom, because she’s thriving in this environment,” Mary said. “We could not provide that for her at 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,” Mary said. “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.”

Since the writing of this article, Beverly Clark has passed away.

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