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Among Friends to host open house

At the First Congregational Church in River Falls, Among Friends will host an open house on Sept. 12 for their social respite care program that provides activities for older adults with memory loss and their caregivers. Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia

A social respite care program that provides activities for older adults with dementia and their caregivers will host an open house from 10 a.m to 12 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Sept. 12 at the First Congregational Church in River Falls.

Among Friends is a volunteer program that serves people in all of Pierce County.

Chairman and Director of Among Friends Bonnie Jones-Witthuhn said a program such as this gives older adults struggling with memory loss and their caregivers a place of interaction, something they may not get on a regular basis.

"It's really coming down to what we really need is people who know how to interact with people with dementia...we want to provide a program with a lot interaction," Jones-Witthuhn said.

During the program, participants have an opportunity to socialize, exercise, and participate in art, music, and active movement. They can also participate in crafts, games, and other activities.

Jones-Witthuhn is a recently retired social worker, clergy, and teacher who said she feels "so fortunate" to be a part of Among Friends and get to help people struggling day-to-day.

Among Friends will begin to offer once a week sessions beginning on Oct. 3 for $35 each session. The sessions will include snacks and lunch, with scholarships available.

Jones-Witthuhn said they plan to have one, full-time paid professional available in each session, as well as two or three trained volunteers.

For more information on Among Friends, visit their website, call 715-293-2561 or email them at Among Friends is open on Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with volunteers always needed.

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert joined the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal in December 2016 covering government, school board, and writing features about the community. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism.