Caring for a loved one with memory loss or dementia? This local program is here to help


Volunteers are an important part of Asbury’s Anchor program. (Asbury UMC)

It’s been three years since Asbury United Methodist Church launched its Anchor Community Respite Ministry to provide fellowship and stimulation to people living with memory loss and dementia. As of February 15, this special program has expanded to provide more assistance to those in need around the Greater Birmingham Area. Here’s what you should know about the program, including enrollment info and how to volunteer. 

About Asbury’s Anchor program

Asbury UMC
Asbury’s Anchor program offers fellowship + more to those in the Greater Birmingham Area. (Asbury UMC)

In 2019, Asbury launched its Anchor Community Respite Ministry. The mission? To help those dealing with memory loss and dementia by providing them with fellowship and stimulating activities. The program helps caregivers, too, by giving them much-needed time for themselves each week, whether to run errands or relax.

Now, three years later and after much success, Asbury has expanded its program to three days a week to help more people in the Greater Birmingham Area.

“I wish I could explain how joyful this program is. Our participants smile and laugh, their families are happy because their loved ones literally can’t wait to get out of the car when they arrive, and our volunteers have the biggest hearts around.”

Gina McIntryre, Program Director, Anchor

A day at Asbury’s Anchor program

Asbury UMC
Anchor participants can participate in movement activities each week. (Asbury UMC)

Now that you’ve learned what Asbury’s Anchor program is all about, here’s a look at the typical day-to-day schedule for its participants and volunteers:

  • 10-10:30AM: Arrival, Coffee, Socialization, Table Time (puzzles, word searches)
  • 10:30-11AM: Physical Fitness (balloon volleyball, bowling, chair yoga)
  • 11-11:30AM: Lemonade and Brain Fitness (trivia, brainstorming, creative writing)
  • 11:30AM-Noon: Activities/Games (guest speakers, bingo, Wheel of Fortune)
  • Noon-12:30PM: Family-Style Meal (lunch + dessert)
  • 12:30-1PM: Physical Fitness (stretching, dancing)
  • 1-1:30PM: Art (painting, coloring, crafting)
  • 1:30-2PM: Music (singing, guest musical performances)
Art is one of many Anchor activities. (Asbury UMC)

As you can see from the list of activities above, Anchor participants receive essential stimulation through many enjoyable activities.

Anchor is available each week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10AM to 2PM. Cost for care is $40 per day and scholarships are also available.

Enroll your loved one in Asbury’s Anchor program now.

How to enroll in Asbury’s Anchor program

Anchor program. (Asbury UMC)

Want to sign up your loved one for Asbury’s Anchor program? Follow these three steps:

1. Ensure they qualify for enrollment. 

All participants must be able to:

  • Walk without assistance or with assistance of cane/walker
  • Attend to restroom needs unassisted
  • Participate in social activities
  • Feed themselves

*Asbury also requires a completed medical examination form from each participant’s physician and a list of current medications.

2. Schedule a tour of the Respite Care Center

To schedule a tour, contact Anchor Program Director Gina McIntryre at 205.529.6353 or

3. Enroll

Ready to sign up your loved one for Asbury’s Anchor program? Fill out this form.

Are you a caregiver? You can participate in a monthly support group where you can share ideas and concerns with others in similar situations as well as learn more from memory loss professionals. Meetings are held the first and third Thursday of each month.

Sign up as an Anchor volunteer

Anchor volunteers. (Asbury UMC)

Are you interested in helping others, but are unsure where or how to get involved? Consider signing up as an Anchor volunteer. No special sills are required. All you need is a willingness to love and be a friend.

“I started volunteering because I had a friend living with dementia and I was interested in helping people like her. Anchor has completely surpassed my expectations of how rewarding it would be for the people and for me personally. Everyone is so loving. Gina is an exceptional director and we all work together and take care of each other.”

Tricia Parks, Anchor volunteer

Check out the list below for Anchor volunteer opportunities:

  • Set-up and/or clean-up
  • Serve as a companion to participants
  • Prepare, serve and clean-up lunch
  • Perform (i.e. music, drama, dance, storytelling)
  • Lead an easy art or craft class
  • Organize and maintain activity supplies
  • Assist with administrative duties

Ready to be an Anchor volunteer or want more information? Fill out this form or contact Anchor Program Director Gina McIntryre at 205.529.6353 or

Want to learn more about the ministry behind Anchor? Visit Asbury United Methodist’s website and follow them on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn.

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