From the ground up
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield Area Respite Care Center offers a social daycare program during the week for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or other dementia. The program was built from the ground up in the mid-1990s, but more recently had a new start after fire destroyed their facilities inside the Wesley United Methodist Church.
While the September 2018 church fire took their facilities, the program didn’t miss a step.
“We lost everything, but never missed a beat,” said Director Marilyn Seidl-Kramer.
“It burned down on the day after Labor Day; we were open the day after at Faith Lutheran Church.
“We had a 100 percent burn here – our part – we didn’t have nothing left, every chart, every computer.
“When the place burned to the ground, it just emptied me. It was like a big grief punch. Not only did I lose this facility that I built with the help of others from the ground up. Not only that, it just unleashed a lot of grieving for loss of people. This place was almost a monument to me. There was something in every place that was connected to one of the individuals because they did something adorable at that spot.”
For Seidl-Kramer, it was in some ways starting over from the program that she helped build in the mid-1990s, after representatives from Marshfield Clinic, the Wood County Department of Aging, and the Marshfield City Committee on Aging saw a need.
“Those people got together, and it was quite a large group of people, and they decided that they wanted to have an adult daycare in the community; because, there was becoming a bigger awareness of Alzheimer’s and people were living longer,” recalled Seidl-Kramer.
“I think they just didn’t know how to handle this particular diagnosis outside of the medical facility, and people really realized that they needed to have some sort of managed care. Managed care was also becoming more pertinent, versus them always going back and forth to the clinics every time something went wrong; because, they felt super responsible. It is 24 hours a day, seven days a week that these individuals are having some confusion, some short-term memory; so therefore, they are asked frequently questions over and over again, which can cause caregiver burnout.”
Thanks to the kindness of a local parish, the program found a place to hold the program at Wesley United Methodist Church.
Following the Wesley United fire, Faith Lutheran Church opened their doors as a temporary home
“They made us feel so welcome there; it was the easiest transition,” Marilyn Seidl-Kramer added.
But, Wesley United would preserve a place for them, as they began building their new church from the group up in September of 2019.
“When the church decided to rebuild, they got together with me and this time they built us right into the facility, which was outstanding,” she said.
With the rebuild, the church was able to create an environment which would be ideal for the program that continues to provide a social environment for those living with forms of dementia, and respite for those who care for them.
Since its development, Seidl-Kramer said that the program has given about 700 individuals a place to call a second home, where they are “loved and listened to.”
“I’ve taken care of people on the most intimate levels, so when you take care of people on an intimate level, what happens? You get close to those individuals,” she said.
The group recently marked a year in their facilities on 205 E. Third St., Marshfield, and continues to expand activities. Upcoming activities include: Parkinson’s Big Exercise Group on Tuesdays and a Parkinson’s Conference on Sept. 20.
For more information, call 715-384-8478 or visit www.marshfieldrespite.org.