Meet Beth Haas
It’s been almost a decade since Beth Haas started working at the Alzheimer Society of Oxford.
Every year since, she’s walked, taught, and caught up with old friends and clients at the Walk for Alzheimer’s.
“It’s inspirational. It’s really lovely. The people who attend are very upbeat and joyous,” Beth said. “One year there was a family that I had supported for a long time, and they were all there with great T-shirts on – three generations!”
Beth truly understands what the Walk is all about. She works for the Society, but she also has personal connections to Alzheimer’s disease in her family.
Her sisters have started coming to the Walk, too, and it’s a special time for the siblings. The highlight for Beth is the Lights of Hope.
“Every year they turn off the lights, and everyone has a candle, and you walk around. It’s a very moving two, three minutes,” she said.
“It moves them to tears, and we walk arm in arm. It’s a lovely event to make us feel like mom is in the room, and we’re doing this for her. That motivates me every year.”
Beth helps families just like hers navigate a dementia diagnosis in her work as a behaviour support worker.
“We have a commitment to our clients. We contact them and offer any kind of support they’re interested in receiving. For some it might be attending groups, for others individual support,” she said, noting that sometimes she might speak with the same family three times a day if they’re dealing with a crisis.
“A lot of people are blown away that it costs them nothing to attend these support groups, (or) for us to be making calls on their behalf,” Beth added.
And though she finds joy in helping her clients, Beth said she and many employees at the Alzheimer Society of Oxford have a long-term goal.
“(Executive director) Shelley often talks about how the best day in her career would be hearing that there is a cure for Alzheimer’s and that we’re all out of a job. The majority of us would agree with that,” Beth said.
But until that dream becomes a reality, the services offered by Beth and others are essential for local residents.
“All the dollars earned in Oxford stay here. And our programs are amazing, I like to think,” Beth said with a smile.
Beth Haas is an Alzheimer Society of Oxford staff member and is involved in all 3 Walks in Oxford.