SIMCOE COUNTY ALZHEIMER SOCIETY
On this day, we reflect on the impact that Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have had on ourselves, our families and our communities.
Anne Ritchie is no stranger to dementia. Her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease more than ten years ago. The diagnosis came with a statement that it was not a terminal disease, but a lifelong disease. Anne knew enough about Alzheimer’s disease to understand that although this disease was not terminal, at least at first, it was incurable and would affect her father for the rest of his life. This period of adaptation, this change of existence, is difficult for most. Any change can be difficult to manage. A change in the people you love can seem overwhelming.
As Anne came to terms with the new reality that her father, herself, and her family would be living in, she recalls thinking she wanted to give him something, “what could I give a person to a country distant?” Anne said.
Her father lived in California, while she lived in Simcoe County. This distance meant that although she was able to provide support for her father, she was unable to make an impact within the community in which he lived. Dementia is an often forgotten disease that many struggle to cope with. However, for those affected by it, it often tells a story of confusion and loss, but also of hope and connection.
Anne searched for resources in her community, curious to know what services were available for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease. Her research led her to an organization that provides support to all people with dementia in Simcoe County, the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County (ASSC).
Anne knew she wanted to support people like her father. She joined the CDSA as a volunteer and began to contribute in various ways. She collects donations, attends health fairs, engages with potential customers and connects with others who are in the same place she was 12 years ago. Her work has allowed her to connect with others who are learning to cope with the realities of Alzheimer’s disease.
After her father passed away, Anne chose to stay with the company and finds comfort in knowing that she is changing lives in his memory. Looking back on her years with CDSA, she recalls one specific event that she was instrumental in creating. After discovering that a local dignitary would be hosting speakers on a myriad of senior-related topics at a public meeting, Anne knew she wanted to take this opportunity to connect with others and give them the support she needed. need itself.
After writing a letter to the dignitary asking him to add the Society to the lineup, his efforts were realized; CDSA was able to present to a full house, providing resources and contacts to countless people. Moments like this, and hundreds of others, remind Anne of the kind, loving and driven person that her father was, and that his impact lives on through her.
We’re asking people at #goblueforalz to show their support for families affected by dementia. We hope you’ll join us in wearing blue or lighting up your business, organization and home blue on September 21, World Alzheimer’s Day!
Help us light up Simcoe County blue by purchasing one of our World Alzheimer’s Day lanterns, available for just $4 at the CDSA office, 20 Anne St. S., Barrie .
Volunteer, support or donate today at alzheimersimcoecounty.ca.