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September 21, 2018

OCO Respite Services Aiding Families


FULTON, NY – For caregivers and families with a developmentally disabled adult or child finding time for themselves and other family members can be challenging.

OCO Developmental Disabilities Independent Residential Alternatives Program Manager Colette Nellis (left) spends some quality time with Respite Services consumer Missy Gorton. Respite Services offers caregivers and families with a developmentally disabled adult or child a break from their everyday schedules while their loved one enjoys socializing and recreation in an active, caring environment.

OCO Developmental Disabilities Independent Residential Alternatives Program Manager Colette Nellis (left) spends some quality time with Respite Services consumer Missy Gorton. Respite Services offers caregivers and families with a developmentally disabled adult or child a break from their everyday schedules while their loved one enjoys socializing and recreation in an active, caring environment.

Oswego County Opportunities’ Respite Services makes it possible to find that time.

Merrillee Gorton, a mother of three, found that OCO’s Respite Services was a perfect fit for her and her family. When her sister, Missy, came to live with her it was a challenge to care for her three children and Missy.

“OCO’s Respite Services has been wonderful for my family. When my children were younger Missy’s time at respite gave me a chance to do things with my children on weekends that would not have been of interest to Missy. More importantly, Missy truly enjoys her time at respite and looks forward to ‘weekends at Dublin Street’ as she refers to them,” explained Gorton.

OCO’s Respite Services operates a home in Oswego that is accessible to developmentally disabled individuals ages four and above.

Respite care is offered Thursday afternoon through Sunday evening throughout the year, with extended weeks throughout the summer.

“The purpose of our respite program is to give caregivers a break from their everyday schedules while their loved one is socializing and enjoying themselves in an active, caring environment,” said OCO Developmental Disabilities Independent Residential Alternatives Program Manager Colette Nellis. “Our individuals begin with short day visits that lead up to full day visits and eventually overnight stays if the family, individuals, and staff are all comfortable and their needs are met.”

“When Missy first expressed interest in spending overnights I was comfortable in letting her do so,” said Gorton. “The staff is very kind and considerate. They know Missy well and care about her well-being. I’m confident that she is in good hands and receives the attention she needs. I greatly appreciate the respite program. That peace of mind while Missy is away is invaluable to me.”

Missy has been visiting OCO’s respite home in Oswego for many years.

It offers her some time away from her family and allows her to socialize with friends.

“Whether it’s going to the movies, garage sales, shopping, visiting the Burnett Park Zoo, or doing crafts with others at our respite house; Missy’s always happy to take on any adventure. She enjoys the program and we enjoy having her. Missy always brings a smile to our day!” added Nellis.

OCO Respite Services currently provides respite to 68 individuals and their families, with many accessing the program through their Medicaid service coordinator.

For information on OCO Respite Services, call Nellis at 315-592-0726.

OCO offers more than 50 human service programs that serve approximately 20,000 people each year.

Operating in 100 locations throughout Oswego County, OCO’s workforce has nearly 600 employees and 1,200 volunteers.

A private, non-profit agency, OCO is committed to helping people, supporting communities, changing lives, and improving the quality of life for Oswego County residents.

OCO is a United Way of Greater Oswego County member agency.

For more information, visit OCO’s website at www.oco.org.

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