From left at the Alzheimer Society open house are Michelle Joannides, Joelle Perras, Roger Moquin, Donna Munro, Jeanne Poirier and Sherry Davis.
CORNWALL, Ontario - The Alzheimer Society in Cornwall opened its doors in hopes that more people will open their hearts to a disease that plagues millions of people around the world.
Friday the local office hosted an open house, where people got a chance to mingle with some of the staff in the Seaway City and see what the agency offers for local sufferers and their families.
"People who have dementia and those caring for someone with dementia are always welcome to come by and get information on the services that we provide, we are proud of our new accessible location," said Shelley Vaillancourt, executive director.
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. a steady flow of visitors dropped by to enjoy coffee and a wonderful assortment of desserts as part of World Alzheimer Month.
Sherry Davis, volunteer co-ordinator at the local office, said the disease has struck a chord with many in the community.
"Each person had a story to share about their own affiliation with the Alzheimer Society," she said. "A family member in attendance was quick to give thanks for the day program service which her dad attends regularly and enjoys also that it provides respite for her mom, and she also attends a peer support group for caregivers."
During the open house the pre-launch of the annual Coffee Break campaign was held.
"Throughout S D &G Prescott and Russell, individuals, nursing/retirements homes and business host this two-fold event," said Davis. "One part to help raise funds for the several programs and services the society offers also, to raise awareness about the disease and what those programs and services are."
Each year she searches for new hosts and is slowly growing those numbers, this year 46 hosts so far have agreed to participate, up from 25 last year.
"Ideally it would be perfect to have strong representation in each of the counties, somedays the challenge is getting to those remote communities," she said. "All we need is to start with one group that can help raise awareness and share with their community that we are here for them, we do provide support to that corner of the county."
With September underway the Alzheimer Society has also launched new support groups that have been organized to better meet the needs of clients.
"Peer support offers caregivers the opportunity to share strategies related to their caregiving role," said Joelle Perras, education co-ordinator. "These once-a-month meetings are offered in Maxville, Alexandria, Morrisburg, Cornwall. Rockland, Limoges and Russell, in English and French.
The official launch of the Coffee Break campaign is Sept. 19th if you are interested in becoming a host contact Davis at 613-932-4914 ext. 206. For more information on peer support groups phone Perras 613-932-4914 ext. 202.