Well Nova Scotia, you did it! You invited us in to your communities – 35 communities we had never been in before – to give a public education session. All within the first 11 months of 2018. Why is this milestone important to us? It was a goal the programs and services team set at the end of last year in recognition of the Society’s 35 years of service. Among the 35 communities were Bay St Lawrence in the East, the Acadian community of Amirault Hills in the West, Big Tancook Island in the South and the Springhill Fire Department in the North. We connected with over 1000 new people across the province.
We met in Fire Halls, Community Centers, Churches, Hospitals, Education Centers, Libraries, and Legions. We met with women’s groups, faith groups, senior’s clubs, immigrant organizations and neighborhood associations. We shared information about the 10 signs and symptoms of dementia, good brain health, and programs and services offered by the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia.
By intentionally reaching out we were able to connect with communities that we have not had the opportunity to work with in the past. With the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, one conversation turned into a two hour workshop, simultaneously translated into five languages, for 35 new Canadians from around the world.
Some of this outreach led to well beyond the initial 45 minute public education presentations. In East Preston we began with a general information session in February as part of a Mental Health Workshop series. After that initial presentation, community members voiced an interest in learning more. Over phone calls and face-to-face meetings we developed relationships and were invited back to facilitate the six part Family Caregiver Education Series. Most recently we presented as part of the regular Sunday service at the East Preston United Baptist Church. We were part of a panel discussing different aspects of mental health. One community member spoke about how the information, education and support he received from the Alzheimer Society helped him on his journey as the primary caregiver for his mother living with dementia.
This process of intentionally reaching out and Making 35 new connections was of benefit to both ASNS staff and the greater Nova Scotian community. Elizabeth McMicheal, a participant at the Clementsport Legion presentation said, “Thank you so much for your presentation on Alzheimer’s this afternoon. There are so many things we don't know but it is good to have people like yourself helping to spread some understanding. Thank you for your time”
“I love presenting in new communities and to new groups,” says Beth Jackson, Coordinator, Education and Outreach for Guysborough, Antigonish & Pictou County. “I often say getting out and meeting new people is the best part of the job, especially when you can help to educate about dementia and connect families who are looking for more support to programs and services. Making new connections is an important part of outreach and so is building those relationships. The Making 35 Connections project really brought that to the forefront and gave us a new goal to work towards. “
We thank you for inviting us into your communities and we look forward to building on the new relationships we have made in 2018.
If you are interested in learning more about the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia in your area please contact one of our Coordinators, Education and Outreach:
Catherine Shepherd, Cape Breton, Phone: 902-842-1314, Email: [email protected]
Heather Maddison, Colchester-Cumberland County, Phone: 902-694-7775, Email: [email protected]
Beth Jackson, Guysborough, Antigonish & Pictou County, Phone: 902-867-7683, Email: [email protected]
Cheryl MacKay, South Shore, Phone: 902-523-1614, Email: [email protected]
Kara Gouthro-Murgatroyd, Halifax and surrounding areas, Phone: 902-422-7961, ext.242, Email: [email protected]