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Senior adult respite program aims at helping those with memory loss

Senior Adults Living Triumphantly (SALT) is a respite program for older adults with mild to moderate memory loss. SALT will take place at First Methodist Church in Demopolis from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on every Thursday starting March 8.

Participants will experience activities like art and music therapy, crafts, memory and adaptive games, low-impact exercise, as well as lunch and general socializing. Caregivers will be given a break during this time to run errands, schedule appointments or just relax.

“It’s important for this group to be successful because we are providing not only this wonderful, fun-filled time for the seniors, but, more importantly, we’re giving the caregivers a break to just take care of themselves,” said Bambi Hamilton, Director of SALT.

Caregivers are also welcome to stay during the program if they or the participant is uncomfortable.

Rosemary Shows, a volunteer liaison who visited a respite program in Montgomery, said that participants are much happier on the days when they attend the program.

“Caregivers have mentioned that when the participant comes home in the afternoon, they are calm. They’ve been active all day, and their mind has been active,” she said.

The only criteria necessary are participants must have some form of memory loss, be able to feed themselves and take care of their bathroom needs.

SALT’s goals are to have a volunteer present for each participant in order to give everyone individual attention and to have participants take the lead with certain activities.

“I think one of the goals to be able to ask the participant ‘Will you help me do this?’ or ‘Would you go do this while I do this?’ so that it will give them a purpose,” said Debbie Butler, a SALT volunteer.

The volunteers all receive training on how to properly interact with participants. Volunteers are also not required to be there every Thursday or for the full four hours.

SALT is currently supported by 30 volunteers and five board members. The board members are Don Gives, Sara Chandler Hallmark, Linde McAdams, Natalie Quinney and Mary Shakes.

There will also be an RN present at each event.

To participate in SALT, contact Director Bambi Hamilton at 334-422-5054. To volunteer with SALT, contact Volunteer Liaisons Rosemary Shows at 334-216-6078 or Jane Watson at 334-208-0706. To donate, contact Treasurer Janice Holman at 334-208-1933.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, February 28 issue of the Demopolis Times.)