The Alzheimer Society of Sarnia-Lambton was established in 1986 by a group of local volunteers. “The first meeting was held in Petrolia at Twilight Haven Home for the Aged which is now known as Lambton Meadowview Villa. Dorothea Rivett was a driving force for the Society. If it wasn’t for her and the rest of the volunteers, this chapter wouldn’t be where it is today,” says Chief Executive Officer, Melanie Bouck. In 1993, they incorporated as a registered non-profit organization and established a new Board of Directors. At the same time, they relocated from Petrolia to an office in Point Edward. Today, they reside in The Chris Dawson Centre, located at 420 East Street North.
Throughout the years, the Society has grown, not only in terms of people power but also in programming. “We started out with a couple of staff members and now have nine program staff who work within the office and sixteen personal support workers, providing respite care. We have really grown over the last few years,” says team member, Christine Wright. Programs change, grow and expand as dictated by the needs of the community. “While we are funded in part by the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), we rely on special events, grants, donations, bequests and in memoriam donations to provide our programs and services. All donations stay local. Our focus is on education and caregiver support. We offer support groups for those living with dementia and their carepartners. In-home respite provides much needed relief for carepartners,” says Bouck. They support all types of dementia and host thirteen different groups each month.