Respite Care

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 and non-faiths. We provide time off for family members who care for dependent seniors. Family care partners have demanding tasks and often neglect their health and well-being. Consequently, care partners need time off to relieve stress and prevent burnout.

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?

All inquiries are welcome! Most participating adults have early to moderate dementia. All members must meet Respite's Acuity Guidelines. Participation is open to all faiths and non-faiths. Attendance prerequisites include up-to-date flu and tetanus shots, as well as a negative PPD test. Medications cannot be brought to Respite Care. Attendance is limited to 12 members per day.

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!

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 through Friday. We offer an enriched afternoon with social, physical, and psychologically engaged activities such as:

Music - Arts and Crafts - Exercise - Memory Books - Nutritious Snacks - Games - Educational Talks - Therapeutic Gardening - Reminiscing Discussions

The fee to participate is $60/day, which is billed at the end of the month for the days attended. Respite Tuition payments may be made by check (payable to Respite WUMC) or by credit card/EFT through this website. Financial assistance may be available through the Peninsula Agency on Aging (PAA) if means are limited, because Respite is a contracted partner for Adult Day Services with PAA. To inquire, contact PAA at (757) 345-6277. Tax-deductible contributions to Respite Care are always welcome. Donations should be made payable to WUMC Respite and mailed to: WUMC Respite 500 Jamestown Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185. If you wish to donate directly to the Scholarship Fund, please designate this on your donation check.


An interview will be scheduled with the care partner and Respite candidate for suitability assessment. Upon acceptance, an enrollment packet will be supplied, and your preferred attendance days will be discussed. Kindly fill out and return the enrollment packet. For scheduling or further details, please contact Cornelia Jude, Executive Director, at (757) 229-1771 ext. 354 or Heike Williams, Respite Manager, at ext. 116.


Our Respite Care program is more than just a service; it's a vibrant community filled with creativity, engagement, and heartwarming stories. That's why we're thrilled to offer our quarterly newsletters, a window into the soul of our community. If you would like to receive our communications, please email our Respite Care Director, Connie Jude  .

2024 Newsletters

2023 Newsletters

Caring for a loved one is a journey that no one should walk alone. It's a path filled with both challenges and rewards and having the right resources can make all the difference. That's why we've curated a selection of valuable support options for caregivers. From assembling a caregiving team to finding emotional support, these resources are designed to guide, inform, and uplift you every step of the way. Click the links below to learn more.

Assembling a Caregiving Team

Caring for a loved one can be overwhelming, impacting caregivers' mental and physical well-being. Studies show caregivers face depression, stress, and health risks. This burden intensifies for those caring for individuals with Alzheimer's, lasting for years. The Family Caregiver Alliance reports that 78% of home care is provided by family and friends. Isolation often accompanies long-term caregiving, worsening the caregiver's health. To ease this burden, a team approach is crucial. Don't wait for a crisis; seek help along the way.

click here for a caregiver support plan

Caregiver Support Group

Sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, this group meets the second Thursday of each month from 11:00am-12:15pm in the Williamsburg United Methodist Church Resource Library Room. Complimentary care is available for your loved one at Respite Care of WUMC during the meeting; however, pre-registration is required. Please contact Cornelia Jude, Executive Director, at (757) 229-1771 ext. 354 if you would like to bring your loved one to Respite Care during the Support Group Meeting. For questions on the Support Group, contact Katie McDonough, Alzheimer’s Association, at 757 459-2405, .

Spouse Support Group

Spouse Care Partner Support Group meets on the first Tuesday of each month from 11:45am-1:00pm in the WUMC Parlor
As a spouse, your challenges are unique. Would you like an opportunity to discuss candidly, what is on your mind with other spouses that bring their partners to Respite? Bring your loved one to Respite Care (even if it is not their scheduled day) and enjoy some time with others in your situation. Bring a bag lunch from home for your loved one if they are attending Respite during the meeting. If it is not your loved one’s day to attend Respite, pick them up by 1pm, there will be no charge assessed. Please use the second door by the restrooms for drop off and pick up to reduce disruption for others staying all day.

RSVP to Cornelia Jude, Executive Director, at (757) 229-1771 ext. 354 or if you plan to attend and let her know if you will be bringing your loved one.

Bereavement Support Group

Bereavement Support Group “Honoring the Journey” meet the second Wednesday of each month from February to May

February 12 - Introductions & Story-Sharing
March 11 - The Unpredictable Journey of Grief
April 8 - Healing of Mind, Body and Spirit
May 13 - Soul-tending Practices

While bereavement support group is created for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one to extended illness, all are welcome. You can come for any session. While there are planned topics, we keep an open forum: brief devotion, reflections on
the day’s topic, open conversation, and a brief closing prayer. We find healing through sharing our stories with one another, but we respect an individual’s desire to listen without sharing. Healing, hope and renewal can be found through honoring each individual’s unique grief process, recognizing that it is a journey that takes as long as it takes. For questions about the Support Group, contact a facilitator: Deacon Francis Roettinger,  , Nancy Rivero 206-1943, or Pastor Meghan Roth Clayton,  229-1771 ext 261.

Virginia Family Caregiver Solutions 

Since 2001 Virginia Navigator and their family of websites have been the trusted nonprofit resource for older adults, people with disabilities, veterans, and their caregivers and families. Search their resource directory of 26,000 programs and services to connect with local, statewide, and national resources to help you navigate your journey. 

browse their resources

event spotlight

2024 Respite Care Volunteer Appreciation Celebration

The Respite Care Program recently held a lovely afternoon party with lots of food, music, and fun to thank and celebrate our wonderful volunteers. Volunteers do so much for the program and our members; this was our chance to do something special for them. A lavish buffet of sandwiches, fruit, desserts, and soft drinks was provided by Brookdale/Chambrel and Respite board member Rachael Carter. John Durfey entertained the group with songs that all connected to spring, especially the month of April. Members, staff, and volunteers sang along, and some even danced in the aisles! At the end of the party, the volunteers all received thank-you-goody bags with several tokens of appreciation inside.

Along with our fantastic staff, volunteers make it possible for us to provide a stimulating and safe program for our members five days a week. Volunteers include musicians, artists, and speakers who entertain members without charging a fee. Others socialize with the members, help with projects, and even with cleaning the Respite room! Some are William & Mary students, some are WUMC members, and others are folks from the Williamsburg community with a passion for serving, especially working with seniors. The program always welcomes like-minded people to apply to volunteer. If that’s you, contact Respite’s Executive Director, Conny Jude, at 757-229-1771 Ext 354.

Frequently Asked Questions


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.


Respite 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!

Volunteers (middle picture)

We have a vibrant team of skilled volunteers who play a crucial role in our program. Working collaboratively with our staff on a daily basis, these dedicated individuals contribute to the heart of our mission. 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)

At Respite Care, our commitment to providing exceptional support to our members is fortified by the collaboration of our esteemed volunteer Advisory Board. Comprising community leaders who hail from various faith communities, our Board plays a pivotal role in shaping our mission. From left to right: Pastor Meghan Roth Clayton, Nancy Fazzone, Carolee Dekker, Jeannie Niebel, Bo Bohanon, Rev. Neil Bright, Barbara Montieth, Rachael Carter, Deborah Hewitt, Conny Jude. Not pictured: Tabitha Patterson, Denise Butler


Conny Jude

Respite Care Director

office: 757-229-1771 ext 354

Meghan Roth Clayton

Associate Pastor and Minister of Congregational Care

office: 757-229-1771 ext. 261


Respite Care
Williamsburg United Methodist Church
500 Jamestown Road
Williamsburg, Virginia 23185

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