Care 4 All

In 2012, Respite for All (RFA) co-founder, Daphne Johnston, launched a Respite Ministry at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. At the time, the senior minister, Dr. Lawson Bryan, and the congregation were praying for a way that the church could provide a response to a growing community issue, which was support needed for those living with dementia, their care partners, and their families. With Daphne’s background in gerontology and over 15 years of work as an executive director in senior living administration, she knew there were solutions other than medical and long-term care facilities.

The aim of Respite for All is to focus on building a no-label environment where everyone had a purpose, blurring the lines between trained volunteers and those we were serving – creating an atmosphere of service for everyone involved so those living with memory issues could still find meaning in their day-to-day lives. The first Respite Ministry began two days a week from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, where people living with dementia and trained volunteers could come together for games, art, music, exercise, shared meals, and service projects for the community.

Jayhawk Caregiver Support Specialist, Michele Dillon, was approached by Rochelle Johnson in Lawrence, whose mom use to attend the ministry in Montgomery. Running with the idea the agency teamed up with Grace Presbyterian in Lawrence and began Care 4 All in September. Our Lawrence program is on Tuesdays and Fridays and our Topeka program is on Mondays and Thursdays at Christ Lutheran Church. For $40 per day the caregiver can drop off their loved one with early to Moderate stage dementia and we provide activities and lunch. This is a non-medical volunteer-based model, so we welcome volunteers of all ages. We are collaborating with Van-Go for activities as well as Meadowbrook Estates and Arbor Court for lunch. We are proud to collaborate with our community partners to bring this beneficial program to light.


The memory care group is a light in an otherwise dark tunnel that shows no end.  I believe my spouse feels, as do I, that it is the most important happening in his life. My spouse looks forward to socializing, exercising, crafts and games every Tuesday and Friday.  I think he feels valued and respected; he belongs.  He is greeted with smiles and laughter and leaves with the same.  He has no other meaningful, to him, social life. The physical exercises are important.  He can no longer take a walk without accompaniment. He is proud of the crafts and wants them displayed. While he could not name the latest game, “Jinga”, blocks were in front of him on the table at pickup time. Importantly, he gets up at 8 am on group days; I do not have to cue him.  Other days he sleeps until 2 pm, plus or minus an hour.  He always wants to attend group. For me, the group helps relieve some of the guilt of knowing that I am unable to provide the meaningful stimulation that the group provides to help him have joy in his life.  Also, I know where he is and that he is safe; I am relieved. I can get work done that I cannot when he is home.  Our reliance on the group gives us strength in facing these dark days, weeks, months and years. – – Carol – spouse of participant

I volunteered for Respite care because of my experience caring for my father.
24/7 care made me fatigued and tired emotionally. It also contributed to a divorce after 27 years of marriage. My dad had lost all of his friends and familiar spaces. The primary caregiver needs a break. I volunteer for Respite so caregivers can have the break I didn’t have. Also, I can show compassion and love to people who have lost memories and purpose and friends.  We are told to love one another as Christ loved us(John 13:34-35) This is my heart’s desire to follow Jesus’ command. – Volunteer

The change that has happened within me and changes with Dad have been very positive and beneficial to both of us. I know that Dad and I are receiving lots of prayers and for sure that makes a difference as well. I truly feel that Care for All is a blessing from God and may God bless you and your staff for all that you do. – Jodi — Daughter of participant

In the spring of 2024, my wife Jan’s Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsened considerably.  I was trying to be her sole caretaker.  It was very difficult, physically and mentally.  Family had visited for a few weeks which helped me considerably.  However, when they left town, I was now on my own in a sea of bewilderment.  My head was spinning.  Sleep escaped me.  Worry overwhelmed me.  I needed some help. In my search for it I came across the Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging.  I eventually was directed to Michele Dillon.  Michele mentioned a new program, Care 4 All.  It offered, for a reasonable fee, 4 hours of respite care for Jan two times per week at a nearby church.  I could drop her off to a safe, friendly environment where she would be looked after, fed, and involved in fun activities. I thought it would be a good fit, a means of getting her out of the house into a more diverse, stimulating environment while giving me a few uninterrupted hours to catch my breath, go grocery shopping, take a walk, mow the lawn, in short, to be me again if only for a few hours.  I needed that. To make a long story short, Jan loved the program!  So did I.  I think it helped me keep my sanity.  She now is in a memory care home but wants to go back to Care 4 All as she misses the friends she made there and all the activities.  I will definitely take her back.  It brought joy to her life and joy is something she has had so very little of lately.  She deserves it.  Caretakers deserve it too. In conclusion, I would highly recommend Care 4 All to anyone considering it for their loved ones and for themselves as primary caretakers.  It is such a straightforward, simple idea, but it gave my beautiful wife, Jan, and myself such fun, joy, peace, and friendship.   I wish you all the best in your journey.  You are not alone. Brent Gordy — Spouse