Denise Egrebrecht needed a break.
It had been three years since her 86-year-old mother, Eleanor Schwartz, moved in with her and her husband in their home in Johnsburg, Ill. Mrs. Schwartz has Alzheimer's disease and has trouble moving around, so Mrs. Egebrecht helps her mother with her shower each day, makes sure she's fed and takes her on small excursions to the mall in a portable wheelchair. The routine includes occasionally reminding her mother of what day it is and where she's living.
Mrs. Egebrecht does all this while also raising her 8-year-old daughter Jacqueline and juggling a full-time job.
"My mom took care of me all of my life," says Mrs. Egebrecht. "Of course I'm going to take care of her now. She'll live here as long as she's able."
But money was an issue. For a time, Mrs. Egebrecht was out of work, having lost her job last year. Although her husband was still employed, without her salary she found it increasingly difficult to pay $180 a week for the adult day care center Mrs. Schwartz attends regularly.
Then, through the Family Alliance office in her town, Mrs. Egebrecht heard about a $1,000 "respite care" grant sponsored by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.