The Alzheimer Society of NL steps up fundraising as demand for services grows

Shirley Lucas is CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. She hopes this weekend’s event will help the organization reach its fundraising goal of $60,000. (Radio Canada)

The Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador says there has been a significant increase in demand for its services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and fundraising is currently underway to help respond to this request.

Shirley Lucas, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, says the number of calls received by the society has increased by 55% over the past few years.

Many people have had difficulty accessing services such as home support programs during the pandemic, which Lucas says has affected stress levels for people with dementia and their loved ones.

She also said people with dementia suffer from not being able to be in the community to interact with others.

“It certainly made it a lot harder for the person because obviously their brain isn’t being kept as active as it normally would be,” Lucas said.

“It was quite traumatic for these people, and I would say they were one of the biggest people who have been significantly affected in the last few years.”

Lucas says the pandemic has made life especially difficult for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. (Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock)

Due to pandemic restrictions, providing practical support has been difficult. But with the return of in-person events, the organization hopes to raise the $60,000 needed to bolster its services and help those who need it most.

“We want to get out there and start connecting with people that we haven’t been able to meet for the past two years,” Lucas said.

“A lot of people go through this dementia journey and the more we talk about it, the more we create that awareness, the more people come forward and get help earlier in their journey.”

Mike Powell is the president of Fort Amherst Healthcare, which is hosting an event to help support and raise funds for the Alzheimer Society. (Submitted by Sarah Fleming)

Fort Amherst Healthcare, which has three personal care homes in the province, is hosting an event Sunday in conjunction with national Walk for Alzheimer’s events to help the Alzheimer Society reach its fundraising goal.

The organization will donate $20 to the Alzheimer Society for each person who participates in the event.

“Many residents in our various communities are directly affected by Alzheimer’s disease and supported by the Alzheimer Society,” said Mike Powell, president of Fort Amherst Healthcare.

“When we spoke with Shirley Lucas and she let us know that they were almost $60,000 behind in fundraising…we knew we really wanted to get involved and really support the cause and try to get them back. help bridge that gap as much as possible.

Where support is needed most

To help meet the needs of people with dementia, the organization has increased its volunteer capacity and moved some of its activities online during the pandemic.

Now they hope to raise enough money to help fund initiatives such as support groups and the “dementia passport”, an online learning program that provides training for healthcare professionals on how to provide support to people with dementia and help their families.

This Sunday’s event will take place in the Westbury Estates parking lot and will include a march, barbecue, face painting and musical performances. (Submitted by Sarah Fleming)

“We launched the program in 2020, and at this particular stage we’re almost 3,000 people trained,” Lucas said.

“[We want] to improve the training of support staff so that they have the most up-to-date information and innovative ways of working with families to be able to more effectively support the person with dementia. »

This Sunday’s event, which kicks off at 11 a.m. outside Westbury Estates in St. John’s, will include a walk for residents with Alzheimer’s disease, face painting, a barbecue and musical performances.

In addition to raising funds, the Alzheimer Society and Fort Amherst Healthcare also want to raise awareness about what they consider to be an extremely prevalent problem.

“It really is a devastating disease,” Powell said.

“I think we probably all know someone directly or second-degree who has had Alzheimer’s disease.”

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Edward L. Robinett