Faith UMC parish nurse leads community effort for caregivers, care receivers

June 12, 2013

Church: Faith United - Ada

District: Southern Prairie

Submitted by: Kim Maas

As members of Faith United Methodist Church in Waseca have learned, parish nursing and health councils can do amazing things with God’s help.

The church’s parish nurse, Sherry Scholljegerdes, who is also a registered nurse, is leading a community-wide effort to provide for caregivers and care receivers.

By engaging the ministerium, both Protestant and Catholic, and coming together with a servant perspective and shared knowledge of people in need, the church is working with other churches, state agencies, and local organizations to develop a “Group Respite Program” in Waseca.

Starting in mid-September, the program will offer:     

  • Some Time Away: A program for care receivers—older adults with mild to moderate dementia—that provides social interaction, including crafts, games, music, and exercises, one to two days a week at Faith UMC.
  • In-Home Respite: Volunteers provide two to three hours of home-based companionship and a break for the caregiver.
  • Powerful Tools for Caregivers (a Minnesota Agency on Aging program): A six-week program that teaches caregivers to take care of themselves.

Some Time Away will cost $30 for the program and $5 for lunch. In-Home Respite is free or will accept a donation.

Organizations involved in the initiative work in the areas of aging, public and mental health, and transportation, and local pastors and the local mayor are volunteering their time to the effort. VINE Faith in Action—a Mankato-based interfaith volunteer caregiving organization that serves older adults, people with disabilities, and those encountering difficult life situations—is also heavily involved in the effort and is its current funder. The program hopes to be self-sustaining within two years.

This summer, the Group Respite Program organizers will seek out caregivers, care receivers, and volunteers and train volunteers as they gear up to launch the program this fall.

Faith UMC encourages other churches to consider this same type of outreach. Those with questions are invited to e-mail or call the church at (507) 835-3167, and the parish nurse will contact them.


Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058