The following information is provided by Michael Johnston, family caregiver coordinator with the SouthWest Kansas Area Agency on Aging:

I recently attended a training session put on by the Alzheimer's Association of Central and Western Kansas. The information provided about the disease was excellent, as was the information about the resources available through the Alzheimer's Association.

As the family caregiver coordinator, I was most interested in the availability of respite grants for caregivers. Through the Family Caregiving Program with our Agency, we are able to provide respite stays for caregivers. This means arranging with the caregiver to have someone, usually a home health aide, come into the home and stay with the loved one while the caregiver takes a break from their care-giving duties or arranging for someone to come into the home. How the caregiver utilizes that time is up to them. We have had caregivers take the time to go to the bank, grocery shopping, getting their hair done and even just using the time to take a nap. This kind of respite can be taken on a recurring basis, weekly or monthly.

The other type of respite is temporary placement in a nursing facility for up to seven days. This request usually comes when the caregiver needs to be out of town, perhaps to attend a wedding, a graduation, a funeral or a family reunion. Our program can pay for the full cost of this type of stay.

With both types of respite, the request for respite comes to our office and our case management team makes the determination of whether care-giving funds or other funding sources can best be utilized to meet the request. Oftentimes, our budget limitations mean utilizing more than one funding source. Occasionally, a request for respite must be denied due to lack of funding.

The Alzheimer's Association has available respite grants up to $600. In order to apply for this service, you will need to contact the Alzheimer's Association prior to receiving at-home care or being admitted to a nursing facility. After approval, your loved one may then begin receiving in-home or nursing facility care. The caregiver pays out of pocket for the care, and the receipts are turned into the Alzheimer's Association.

To see how to qualify for this care, the caregiver can contact Jenna Huffman at the Alzheimer's Association of Central and Western Kansas at (316) 267-7333, or go to to get an application for reimbursement. This service is available once a year from June to July.

This additional resource for respite stays is important information for caregivers to know.

There are many resources for caregivers in our service area. If you are a caregiver and would like more information about resources available in our area, please contact me at SWKAAA, P.O. Box 1636, Dodge City, KS 67801, or call (620) 225-8230 (outside of Dodge City, call 1-800-742-9531) or email me at

Free program

Assistive Technology of Kansas is offering a free program this summer for persons who are deaf or hearing impaired. ATK will provide and install free smoke detectors that flash and also ones that have bed shakers.

Applications are available at the senior center, 907 N. 10th St., to apply for this wonderful opportunity. The application is short, requiring only name, address, phone number, etc., plus proof from your physician or audiologist that you (or someone in your household) is hearing impaired. Applications should be completed by mid-August because this program ends Sept. 1. Don't delay. Drop by the senior center for your application.

Thanks for help

Many thanks to the volunteers from RSVP volunteers, Jamie Hitchcock and Duane Riley who delivered Meals on Wheels last week. Are you interested in helping with Meals on Wheels? Substitute drivers are always needed. If you would like to help, call Patti at 272-3620 or 260-6282.

Scheduled activities

Thursday, the TOPS Club will meet at 9 a.m., followed by art class at 10 a.m. Gentle exercises start at 11 a.m. The Ambassador Singers practice at 1 p.m. Skip-Bo begins at 1 p.m. Yoga begins at 6:30 p.m.

Friday is Flag Day. The day begins with line dancing at 8:30 a.m. Craft Shop check-in/out begins at 10 a.m. A nurse from St. Catherine Hospital will be here from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge starts at 12:45 p.m. Join us for Dad's Root Beer floats at 2 p.m.

Saturday, the pool room is open from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sunday has duplicate bridge at 2 p.m.

Monday begins with walking at 8:30 a.m. Double pinochle begins at 12:30 p.m. Duplicate bridge starts at 7 p.m.

Tuesday has gentle exercises at 11 a.m. Pitch starts at 12:30 p.m. Bridge begins at 1:15 p.m. The Finney County Committee on Aging will have its regular monthly board meeting at 2 p.m.

June 19 has line dancing at 8:30 a.m. Legal aid is at 10 a.m. Pinochle starts at 12:40 p.m. Completely Unraveled meets at 1 p.m. The regular Wednesday night dance featuring the Ortiz Band begins at 7:30 p.m. This is not a free dance. The recommended donation is $5.

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, broccoli, apple slices, wheat roll.

Friday: Chili or beef stew, tossed salad, apricots, cinnamon roll.

Monday: Salisbury steak, creamed peas, Brussels sprouts, mixed fruit, wheat bread.

Tuesday: Oven-fried chicken, potatoes and gravy, beets, mandarin oranges, wheat roll.

June 19: Beef stroganoff with noodles, spinach, angel food cake with strawberries, wheat bread.

Celebrating 35 years at the Senior Center of Finney County. Check out our website at