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Alzheimer Society adding new recreational space

3,300 sq. ft addition to be unveiled during annual general meeting

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

The Alzheimer Society of Durham Region is ready to show off.

That is, show off its new recreation space at the organization’s head office at 1600 Champlain Avenue in Whitby.

The society is hosting an open house along with its annual general meeting on Monday, Sept. 10.

The public is welcome to visit and view the new space and learn more about the Alzheimer Society’s numerous programs.

Executive director Denyse Newton says they have been progressing their recreation programming over the past two years.

The expansion was aided by a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

“We have seen a demand for that type of programming. Thanks to some very generous donors, we’ve been able to take on the additional space.”

The 3,300 sq. ft. addition is adjacent to the Alzheimer Society’s office in the building.

“It was empty office space and we’ve now taken the lease on,” Newton says.

The convenience of the location was one of its most attractive qualities, she adds.

“We certainly thought about different locations. But this seemed to be the most reasonable, and the landlord was willing to work with us, so it was the most economical.”

Recreation programs were previously offered at a number of locations throughout the region including the Abilities Centre in Whitby and Older Adults Centre in Clarington.

“For the most part, the community partners have been great, but it’s always been a challenge to get a time that worked for our clients and worked for their programming,” Newton explains. “So we thought the time was right to do this here, and have control over what we can offer.”

Some of the programs to take place in the new space include arts and drama activities.

‘Brain Wave’ cafes allow those with dementia to stop in for a cup of coffee and chat with others who are facing a similar journey.

The successful Minds in Motion program will move to the space as well.

Minds in Motion is a two-hour program that focuses on both physical and cognitive/social activity.

Newton says these are only a few examples of what is possible.

“We are limited only by our imagination and what our clients are telling us they’d like to see,” she says.

“Our hope is two-fold. We are hoping to provide recreational programming for people living with dementia and caregivers, and secondly to use the space to provide some respite activities while caregivers are either taking educational sessions or attending support groups.”

The open house on Sept. 10 will run from 4 to 8 p.m. with the annual general meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m.

This evening will see the unofficial kick off of the Alzheimer Society’s Coffee Break campaign.

The campaign begins officially on Thursday, Sept. 20. Individuals, organization, and groups are encouraged to run their own Coffee Break events.

These events serve to spread awareness regarding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related conditions. Funds are also raised from certain events.

For more information on Coffee Break, visit http://alzheimer.ca/en/Home/News-and-Events/events/Coffee-Break/About-Coffee-Break