Alzheimer’s Family Support Center Stays Connected Despite Pandemic

BREWSTER – As the holiday season approaches amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Alzheimer’s Family Support Center of Cape Cod has been working to provide those suffering with memory loss the assistance they need to stay safe, healthy and connected to their community.

Melissa Weidman, Director of Community Engagement for the organization, said that closures induced by the pandemic have been an opportunity to connect in new ways with the roughly 10,000 residents living on Cape Cod dealing with memory loss.

“We were able to transition all of our services to become virtual. Right now, we are running 45 support groups on Zoom and we have trained so many people in their 70s, 80s, even 90s, how to get on Zoom which was a tremendous experience,” said Weidman.

Weidman said that they also have been providing one-on-one counselling services and multi-session training classes for caregivers in virtual formats.

The organization has also been able to host larger-scale events, including a 1,200-attendee conference in August.

“It’s been a tremendous experience in terms of learning how much people can still connect,” said Weidman.

Informational and financial presentations are also being offered online, including how to sign up with Medicaid.

The organization’s Arts and Ideas series has also moved to a virtual format, when traditionally it would be hosted at the Cotuit Center for the Arts.

The event will feature musicians, artists and other experts in their fields giving presentations on a variety of topics on November 27.

Other remote solutions to support the community during the pandemic involved having clients paint bird houses that will be hung up for the enjoyment of residents in various communities.

“Obviously it’s not the same as being together,” said Weidman.

“One of the challenges right now in this time is that we have so many caregivers with people with disease home alone, doing their best, and needing support and not having their usual network of councils on aging, libraries, coffee shops, or movies. So we’re trying to be all that to them. It’s been quite a wonderful experience.”

Alongside daily emails to keep the community connected, the organization will be working in partnership with the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance to deliver haddock chowder to those in need over the holiday.

Pies are also being provided by long-term care facilities in the community.

As the holiday season continues, the Alzheimer’s Family Support Center will provide announcements about events on their website, where they are also accepting donations by residents looking to make a local impact.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.



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