Celebrating 25 Years in Oxford County
In 2014, we celebrated 25 years of serving Oxford County. We’ve come a long way in this time and we want to share how we’ve grown thanks to the support of our community.
Over 25 years ago, our founding board members recognized a need. They envisioned a better world with more support, compassion and understanding. They wanted to improve the quality of life for those living with dementia and their family members. They volunteered their time and skills to begin the organization that we are now.
Dianne Hodges, long-time supporter reminisces about the early days. “It has been exciting to be a part of the journey that began with a steering committee formed to bring services to Oxford. The growth and expansion over the years from a small office tucked on the third floor of the Senior Centre to the present location designed to provide services to the growing demands in our community has made it possible for staff to do this in a setting meeting the needs of clients and families they serve.”
Our offices on Peel St. in Woodstock
Many years ago, during a board of directors strategic planning meeting, our organization envisioned a continuum of services from diagnosis until death, and that we would serve all members of the family desiring support. Today, we can proudly say that we have accomplished this goal and serve our clients from before diagnosis until after death, welcoming all family members through a variety of programs and services.
Board of Directors, June 2013
Helen Thomson Patterson, previous client and long-term volunteer remembers the early support groups. “In the early 90s, I attended my first Alzheimer caregiver support meeting held in a room in an apartment. There were about 10 people present and we sat around a table with a tissue box. From that first beginning, I knew I was going to be able to cope with my husband’s diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. I was not alone.”
Today we average 18 support groups per month for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias as well as their family members and friends. From April 2013 to March 2014 we served 619 clients.
To provide support and services to Oxford County, we rely on donors and fundraising opportunities. Throughout the year, we hold different fundraisers, but our largest is Walk for Memories. Our very first Walk for Memories was held in 1994 in Woodstock. We were shocked and very grateful to raise $13,000 at that event, especially as our goal had been $3,000! Over the years, this has increased and today, we host three Walks in communities in Oxford County and raise about $100,000 between these locations.
Walk for Memories, Ingersoll 2000 Walk for Memories, Woodstock 2004
Walk for Memories, Tillsonburg 2010
Along with our Walk for Memories, we also hold a spring Golf Tournament and autumn Coffee Break events. We are also very grateful to individuals who organize their own events and donate the proceeds to our organization. All of the fundraisers help, not only to raise money, but to increase awareness and education of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
We’ve relied heavily on volunteer service and are grateful for the thousands of volunteers who’ve supported us over the past 25 years. "In early 1993 I read in the Sentinel Review that the Alzheimer Society was looking for volunteers. I replied and before long I was volunteering in the office and then within several other programs too,” says Betty Schelhaas who continues to volunteer weekly. Nearly 200 volunteers gave almost 4500 hours of their time to our work over the past year which has helped us to serve the community to the extent that we do.
Dianne Hodges, dedicated, long-term volunteers
Thank you to everyone who has helped us grow and serve Oxford County for over 25 years! The generosity and commitment of volunteers, donors and funders has allowed us to become who we are and to provide the much needed services to our community.