Annual General Meeting 2016-2017
By Dean Gale, Board President 2015-2017
I am pleased to have the opportunity to report to you on the activities of your Board since our last Annual General Meeting. As an overview, I am pleased to highlight our efforts in the past year focused on six of our key strategic priorities.
Continued research is an essential element in understanding and finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Abraham Leventhal has had a major impact upon the research funding ability of the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia. Abe passed away in 2016 at the age of 90, leaving a legacy of money to fund dementia research.
With his bequest to the Alzheimer Society for dementia research, we established our first-ever research fund, the Abe Leventhal Research Fund. The fund will support research through a variety of ways, including a bursary for a student studying gerontology, as well as increasing our commitment to the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank - the largest brain tissue bank in the world, housed at Dalhousie University.
Programs and Services
We continue to make every effort to increase our ability to offer programs and services in all regions of the province. As part of the continuation of the Nova Scotia Dementia Strategy funding, we hired a new Community Coordinator in 2016-17. Focused on education about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias - as well as the supports the Society offers - Beth Jackson is the Community Coordinator in the counties of Pictou, Antigonish, Guysborough, and part of the Strait area.
A variety of events, including the Walk for Alzheimer’s, campaigns like “Giving Tuesday,” commitments and transformational gifts donated through organizations like the Windsor Foundation, as well as funding by the Province of Nova Scotia Department of Health, have allowed us to fund our increased programs and services.
One of our key services is our InfoLine. It’s often an important first point of contact with families and those with dementia as they navigate a new diagnosis. As one example of the increasing demand for services offered by our Society, InfoLine received 33% more calls this year than the previous year and an 11% increase in new InfoLine clients.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Faye Forbes, you’d probably still recognize her. You might even be able to recite her motto, “Life doesn’t stop when dementia begins.” That’s because over the last five years Faye has been one of the Society’s main ambassadors.
As someone who was diagnosed with early onset dementia six years ago, Faye has been busy helping us spread the word. She was featured in the Society’s first-ever commercial on CTV, YouTube and Facebook, and she did a 10-part video series to share her helpful strategies. She co-authored an article with Dr. Chris Frank for a Canadian medical journal, spoke throughout the province to service groups and students about dementia, and was interviewed for media stories. Thanks in part to Faye’s help, traffic to the Society’s website and social media pages has increased, calls to InfoLine are on the rise, and we’ve increased our fundraising funds and participation in events.
We are currently in the second year of funding through the Department of Health and Wellness Dementia Strategy, and are on track for meeting our goals. Feedback to date indicates that we are on the right track but need to be doing more of what we were already doing in more communities across the province.
Over the past year we have enhanced dementia programming in the community with two additional Community Coordinators of Education and Outreach to serve both Annapolis Valley and Pictou-Antigonish areas – previously under-serviced regions. Additionally, a Speakers bureau was developed and launched, as was an effective media campaign that increased awareness about dementia across the province.
Gaps in service delivery as identified through the dementia strategy process that we are currently developing include web-based delivery of our educational programs; new workshops for caregivers that focus on key issues identified like responding to behaviors and supporting someone at home with physical care; providing resources that are tailored to the needs of the First Nations and francophone populations; and developing training manuals to ensure facilitators of our education programs have the knowledge and skills to deliver evidence-based education across the province.
We have met our goals to date and are looking forward to continuing with the work identified in the strategy for year three: enhancing our offerings to support people on the dementia journey, province-wide.
Organizational Growth & Effectiveness
Volunteers throughout Nova Scotia dramatically broaden our reach of work. Our team across the province works with community partners and volunteers to increase our capacity to deliver programs and services in the communities where Nova Scotians live. They’re also an important part of expanding our network by helping to spread the word, and promote our programs, services and events.
Additionally, our Society is fortunate to partner with many very skilled professionals and organizations such as nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and researchers. They help us to build new programs, elevate the credibility of the Society, recognize gaps in the system, and avoid duplicating efforts so we can all make the most of our resources.
We are a needs-driven society.
In the past 10 years of my involvement with the Society, we have almost tripled our revenues and doubled our staff in our effort to keep up with the demands of the Nova Scotians we serve. Our challenge remains to adapt to the increasing needs for programs and services in our province.
I want to express my sincere appreciation to all our Board members for their dedication and commitment, and look forward to new Board members joining us to support the ongoing work of our Society. I have appreciated the opportunity to be of service to the Society and look forward to assisting Andrew MacIsaac, our new Board President, over the next two years.
We acknowledge with deep appreciation the staff and volunteers of the Society for their continuing commitment and dedication to our Society.
To all our donors, corporate and business sponsors, and the Province of Nova Scotia Department of Health, we could not exist without your support and trust. Every dollar given is an expression of your support and encouragement to continue to work towards a cause and a cure.
Last Updated: 07/04/17