Respite Care


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A gift of time to care partners of dependent seniors; A gift of companionship and refreshment for their loved ones;

since 2001.

Respite Care is a weekday afternoon ministry of Williamsburg United Methodist Church, open to all faiths & non-faiths.

We provide social engagement and stimulating activities for dependent seniors, allowing their care partners time to replenish.


Respite Care provides time off for family members who care for dependent seniors. Family care partners have demanding tasks and often neglect their own health and well-being. Consequently, care partners need time off to relieve stress and prevent burn-out.

Respite Care provides social engagement and stimulating activities for dependent seniors in a safe and secure setting to maximize their cognitive & social abilities. Dependent seniors often feel lonely, bored, and/or helpless. Being with other peers brings psychological and physical benefits. Daily enrichment activities include music, arts & crafts, memory books, exercise, games, educational talks, reminiscing discussions, and a nutritious snack.

Who May Participate?

Only 12 members attend daily, creating a family-like environment. Most participating adults have early to moderate dementia and all members must meet Respite's Acuity Guidelines. All inquiries are welcome. Medications cannot be brought to Respite Care. Participation is open to all faiths and non-faiths.

Who Cares for My Loved One?

The exceptional Staff Team is carefully screened, trained and repeatedly recognized by families for their compassion and enthusiasm. When 12 members are scheduled, 5 staff are present, along with an active group of talented volunteers who help maintain a dynamic program. Our 1:3 staff to member ratio is unparalleled!

To view testimonials about Respite Care, click here

To view our brochure, click here.

We are a Safe Sanctuaries church. To view our policy, click here.


Respite Care is open 11:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday.

The fee to participate is $50/day, which is billed at the end of the month for the days attended.

Holiday closings can be found by clicking here.

To enroll, an interview will be arranged with the care partner and the candidate to ensure appropriateness. An enrollment packet will be provided and the attendance day(s) will be discussed. Complete and return the enrollment packet. A current flu shot, tetanus shot (within the past 10 years) and negative PPD test (within the past 6 months) are required for attendance.

To learn about potential financial assistance or how to make a tax-deductible contribution, please click here.


Upcoming Events:

Respite Benefit Luncheon

Enjoy a delicious festive fall luncheon with friends while supporting Respite’s afternoon social engagement program for dependent seniors, on Wednesday, October 2, in Fellowship Hall at Williamsburg United Methodist Church. Carrabba’s Italian Grill will once again cater our event with their famous chicken marsala, pasta, salad, bread and iced tea, at absolutely no cost to Respite! Dessert will also be served. Only 230 tickets are available for $18 each, with all proceeds supporting Respite’s daily art and music enrichment programs plus attendance scholarships for families with financial need. Tables can be reserved for parties of 8-10, when tickets are purchased together. 

This year, our event will include exhibitors sharing helpful resources available in our community! The Luncheon begins at 11:00 a.m. allowing guests to visit the exhibitors, with lunch service beginning at 11:30 a.m. Carpooling is encouraged!  For a ticket order form, click here.

Caregiver Support:

For information about How to Assemble a Caregiving Team, click here.



In 2001, Peggy Soulen and Darla Krupski spearheaded the creation of Respite at WUMC. Over the years, Respite has evolved to become a flagship activity program for seniors. Acuity guidelines were developed to clearly define who we can serve to ensure an afternoon of stimulating activities and social engagement.


Members have designated permanent days they attend weekly, from 1-5 days/week. Many families enjoy an extra day from time to time, when openings are available. When members are unable to attend, there is no charge; however, if absences become routine, number of permanent days may be revisited.


The key distinction is Respite’s unprecedented 1:3 staff to member ratio! Other programs offer a 1:6 ratio or are strictly volunteer driven. Many staff at Respite are retired RNs and LPNs who feel personal fulfillment from caring for seniors in our dynamic, uplifting, family environment.

Our cheery, bright dedicated space with just twelve (12) members daily, fosters personal relationships between members, staff and volunteers. As one member said, “I’m not sure where we all came from, but we are a family!”

There is no minimum number of days you must attend each week, and you are only charged for the days you attend.


Absolutely! The Peninsula Agency on Aging (PAA) can provide financial assistance based on their sliding scale. In addition, Respite’s scholarship program can help cover costs.

More Questions?  We are happy to help! 


our respite teams

Staff Team (left picture)

Respite’s 1:3 staff to member ratio is unparalleled. Our compassionate, skilled team includes RNs, LPNs, and ADC (Activity Director Certified) professionals! Pictured left to right: Bettie Morris, RN; Debbie Kukla; Andrea Smith; Diane Murray, RN; Cassie Klaus, RN; Carolyn Yowell, Director; Ellen D’Orsogna, RN, Manager; Sally Bedont, ADC; Joy Mair, LPN. Not pictured: Ann Boyle, Debra Coleman, RN.

Volunteers (middle picture)

Every day, 2-3 volunteers assist staff with activities and build lasting friendships with members. Other volunteers perform music, bring fresh flowers for arranging, present educational programs, and more. Volunteers pictured attended our Recognition Reception.

Board of Directors (right picture)

Pictured l to r: Deborah Hewitt; Deacon Francis Roettinger; Meghan Roth Clayton, Associate Pastor WUMC; Bonnie Knizatko, Chair; Ruth Simpson; Carolyn Yowell, Director; Trish Kline; Barbara Monteith; Jan Boykin; Ken Turner; Nethea Calloway, Treasurer; Nancy Ward; Debra Maviglia, Secretary. Not pictured: Sherry Dunphy-Ackerman, EdD, RN.


Respite Care

Williamsburg United Methodist Church

500 Jamestown Road

Williamsburg, Virginia 23185

For more information contact:

Carolyn Yowell, Director of Respite Care, (757) 229-1771 Ext 354 or

Ellen D’Orsogna, RN, Respite Care Manager, (757) 229-1771 Ext 116 or

To connect with Respite Care at Williamsburg UMC on Facebook, click here.