“A small act of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s life”
In the spring of 2018, Diane Edwards and Cynthia Huling Hummel felt called to start a respite care ministry in the Southern Tier. Their desire to help grew out of an observation: that it is sometimes very hard for caregivers to find care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. They heard stories of care partners who were unable to attend educational programs, support services and other events because there was no one to care for their loved one. The two friends moved prayerfully and carefully forward. They decided to call their project “Faithful Friends Respite Care ” which would be a ministry to a small group of families that the two had come to know and love.
To that end Diane and Cynthia both completed a seven-hour respite care training through R.E.S.T. and were certified as RESPITE CARE COMPANIONS. Cynthia also renewed her First Aid and CPR certification through the American Red Cross. Both had background in caregiving and in the special needs of dementia care. Diane was a caregiver for her late husband, who passed away from Alzheimer’s. Diane is a volunteer educator for the Alzheimer’s Association and also serves on the Connections Committee which plans and hosts social events for individuals with a dementia diagnosis and their care partners. Cynthia was a caregiver to her adult daughter, who had multiple surgeries over a two-year period. Cynthia was a long-distance care giver for her mother, who died of Alzheimer’s in 2014. In her work as a pastor, Cynthia resourced many individuals and families dealing with a dementia diagnosis. Cynthia is also living with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and serves on the National Council for Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services. She facilitates an Early-Stage support group in Horseheads, NY and is on the Connections Committee with Diane.
The two made a decision to keep “Faithful Friends” small and to focus on a select number of families (5-6 individuals in the early-stages of Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia) . They also decided that The Faithful Friends respite program would be free.
These two faithful friends have organized outings at the Rockwell Museum and the Chemung County Historical Society. The outings have included art activities, games, and sharing conversation over bag lunches. The two have also helped families in other ways- helping with transportation to medical appointments and offers for in-home short-term respite care.
The Faithful Friends Respite Care Ministry Program is NOT affiliated in any way with a religious tradition or with any Alzheimer’s organization. Diane and Cynthia are just two faithful friends, who are trying to help to meet a need in their community. They would say that every small act of kindness can make a HUGE difference not just to the recipients- but also to those who serve.