The Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County (ASSC) is looking for ways to connect more deeply with the communities it serves.
Based out of Barrie, the ASSC supports people with dementia, their care partners and health care professionals through education, counselling and activities in communities in Simcoe County. Founded in 1985, the registered charitable organization has grown from grassroots to offer a number of programs and services to townships across the county. In recent years, the South Georgian Bay area, namely Collingwood and Wasaga Beach, have become the society’s third largest client base.
“Ultimately, the goal is to provide seamless services across the county,” said Laura-Lynn Bourassa, the manager of education and support programs with the ASSC.
The ASSC also runs social recreation programs in different regions, and is currently running Minds in Motion, an eight-week community-based social program that incorporates physical activity and mental stimulation for people with dementia and their care partners, in Wasaga Beach.
“That's a really neat program and the group we have in Wasaga Beach right now is fantastic,” Bourassa said.
However, they are looking to increase awareness about the services they offer, and because they don’t have a physical space in the South Georgian Bay area, they rely on community partners to provide them with that space.
“When you don't have that storefront, people aren’t aware that you are there,” said Bourassa. “So we want to increase exposure.”
In an attempt to do so and connect with community partners who could help support program delivery in the area, the ASSC invited the Collingwood community on a Sunset Cruise in celebration of World Alzheimer's Day. The event, sponsored by the Georgian Bay Club Foundation, was to take place on Sept. 21 in the Collingwood harbour, but it was cancelled due to a lack of registration.
“I don’t think it generated enough interest to actually run,” said Bourassa. “And that’s the issue here.”
Over the past month or so, South Georgian Bay has become ASSC’s highest referral source, so they are looking at what else they can do to drum up interest from their community partners and communicate the different services that are available.
“We are looking for that support from the different parts of Simcoe County where we don’t have that physical office, but we definitely are there with services,” said Bourassa.
Anyone wishing to partner with the Alzheimer Society's Simcoe County chapter can call the Barrie office at 705-722-1066, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.