2020 Emergency Community Support Fund Grant recipient. With a global pandemic affecting everyone across the world, the residents of Dufferin County have faced many new challenges, a big one being social isolation. With day programs unable to open up, families losing their respite resources, and those living with dementia losing interaction with the outside world, a decline in health and wellness has been seen in our community members. As a behaviour support worker (BSW) at the Alzheimer Society of Dufferin County I have observed this decline in our clients through our wellness checks.
With support from the Dufferin Community Foundation and the Emergency Community Support Fund, we were able to add two BSW’s and adapt to the current circumstances very nicely and proactively. We have utilized technology to help increase the social interaction in our clients through virtual visits, virtual groups, and a new IPad lending program. We have also supported our community by providing weekly, bi-weekly or monthly wellness checks to caregivers struggling to adapt to this pandemic. A part of the BSW role is also providing social phone calls to some of our clients living with dementia to try and bring a social piece of living back into their lives and give them a friendly face to speak to once or twice a week. The BSW role has also been aiding our team in creating Montessori kits that are gifted to families to help bring meaningful activity and purpose back into everyone’s daily routines. With the addition of another BSW we have also been able to take up outside, social distance visits with some of our clients, bringing back a much needed social factor into many families’ lives. These visits include social conversation, walks outside and provide our caregivers a moment to catch their breath. The BSW role has really benefited Dufferin County during this time of uncertainty as it has helped keep our community members to stay connected and supported and has allowed for those living with dementia to not be disconnected completely from society.