Auburn University

Caregivers need to take a break

For two years, starting in 2014, Gerald Johnson drove 110 miles round-trip, twice a week, to take his wife Nadine from their home in Auburn, Ala., to Montgomery. Nadine, 77, has Alzheimer's disease, and after plenty of searching, Johnson found a respite-care program in Montgomery that greatly improved the quality of life for both of them. Nadine spent four hours each visit with volunteers who enthusiastically engaged with her and other patients with dementia, learning about their backgrounds, talking, singing and sharing meals, while Johnson got a much-needed break from his caregiving routine.

Johnson, a retired Auburn University political science professor, was so impressed with...