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A New Leader And Way Of Providing Services For Alzheimer's Project

Tom Flanigan

Human service non-profits are becoming ever more creative as the pandemic continues. That includes the Alzheimer's Project, which serves patients and caregivers across the Big Bend.

On top of everything else, the organization has a new executive director. John Trombetta took over that post the first of June.

"This is such a great organization! I've been really lucky to come in behind Debbie Maroney who did such a great job over the last 5 years really promoting and raising our service level and awareness in the community."

As to maintaining services, Trombetta admitted it's been a bit of a stretch.

"It's thrown us for a little bit of a loop, but we have adjusted. We've moved our support groups that we normally have at some of the area churches. We've kept the same dates and times but we've moved those to a virtual environment."

Caring for the caregivers remains a prime function of the Alzheimer's Project.

"Our respite care - our respite rooms - which were a big part of our service - we've had to suspend those. Caregivers aren't able to drop their loved ones off for those 6 hour chunks of time so they can go and do things that they need to do. So instead of that, we're doing some in-home respite where we're having our volunteers come to the home to give those caregivers a break."

But the Alzheimer's Project isn't all serious offerings.

"We're also doing some fun stuff, too. We're doing bingo online. We're doing some sing-a-longs! We're starting to get a lot of interest in those, not only from folks wanting to participate, but (also) from folks who want to lead them. That's a fun time and we're doing those via Zoom and Facebook Live, taking advantage of technology. We're still offering services, but we want to let people know that we're not alone here and we're here for the caregivers and those living with the disease and we want to help."

The Alzheimer's Project has another unique attribute.

"Of course, we offer our services at no charge through the benefit of our donors and funders. So we're not going to turn anyone away for inability to pay."

Speaking of donors and funders, Executive Director John Trombetta said raising funds to support the Alzheimer's Project now has its own challenges in the COVID era.

"We're hoping to start back up our golf tournament on Nov. 2 at Capital City Country Club. We're going to do that in-person, being responsible in terms of making sure there's one person per cart and that we're able to do it safely. We're excited about that. Our walk that we'd normally have at Cascades Park we're going to do that virtually this year. We're a little nervous about that because it's a different venue for us but we believe it will give an opportunity for a lot more people to participate."

Trombetta promised updates as those events get closer.

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