• More than a respite
    January 14,2013

    More than a respite

    What do you do when you need to take care of a parent, grandparent or spouse who needs 24/7 supervision, but you can’t afford to stop working?

    I was faced with that dilemma when my mother moved in with me. I enrolled her at Project Independence in Barre for day care services three days a week so I could continue to work at my part-time job. My mother could not afford to go to an assisted living facility. She was diagnosed with early to mid-stage dementia.

    At Project Independence, she was able to participate in a wide range of activities, both physical and mental. She enjoyed excellent food (surprisingly, she always remembered what she ate), and made new friends. She participated in games, exercise, thought-provoking discussions, current events, health talks, singalongs, dining out and more.

    Project Independence has volunteer music performers, and she especially enjoyed those times. Her experience reflects the feelings of many participants when she said, “They treat me like a queen.”

    Now that I am working at Project Independence, I see the scope of what this nonprofit facility offers, and what it means to people. Some people are quite reluctant to attend P.I. for various reasons.

    Recently, a woman who wasn’t expected to want to attend has turned into an amazing success story. She started to attend three days a week and loved it so much, she now attends every day. Her son was extremely grateful, especially since he lives an hour away.

    This is a woman whose son said she had been depressed since his dad passed away in 1997. She is now saying she is happy and making new friends after 15 years of being unhappy.

    For people who need to keep working or attend to personal needs, or simply need a break, P.I. is a godsend. The staff is very professional and friendly, and fellow participants also make newcomers feel welcome. I am in awe of how well the staff and volunteers attend to the needs of the participants and how kind and loving they are. Medical needs are attended to by nursing staff.

    Project Independence is located in downtown Barre at 81 N. Main St. next to Needleman’s Bridal. It has been a wonderful service since the 1970s and I only wish I had known about it when my mother-in-law moved up from New Jersey to live in Vermont. If you are looking for a worthy cause to donate to, P.I. would be very grateful because, as a nonprofit, they are struggling with cutbacks from funding sources.

    Renee Lagala


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