Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County sees growth, in need of volunteers
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The number of clients being seen at the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County has increased more than 50 percent in the last year.
The Alliance’s Day Club space is filled with music, crafts, and fun on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Rebecca Smith is the marketing and education coordinator for the alliance and said, “The socialization and engagement that our clients get with Day Club really can help slow the progression of their dementia,” Smith said. “So they’re able to have a better quality of life for longer and also, it’s a great relief for the caregivers who can be on a very emotional, tiring journey when they’re caring for a loved one with dementia.”
Day Club has a capacity for 25 people. The largest growth has been during Thursday sessions, which has grown from 10 participants in May 2022 to 22 participants this January. This has increased their need for volunteers; Maggie Crow recently started.
“We come in the morning and we get prepared for everything and then we all pick a friend or two,” Crow said. “You just help the friend work through the day, we have breakfast, snacks, and then we do activities. Whether they be coloring or painting, there’s all different kinds of things we do.”
Margaret Johnson has been volunteering for a year and says she’s seen the growth on Thursdays.
“One day we each had four (participants), so that was kind of overwhelming, but it was so much fun. They interact with each other and it just works out everyday,” Johnson said.
Smith said the Alliance contributes this growth to an added position that focuses on outreach and relocating to their new building on Broadway, which has increased their physical visibility.
“We’ve had a lot of caregivers who, instead of waiting until they’re in crisis mode and really need support, they’re being more proactive when they get that diagnosis with their loved one with dementia,” Smith said. “Which is great because they can improve their quality of life and they can improve the quality of life, much sooner, of their loved one with dementia.”
Smith said that all volunteers go through a training. They’re needed on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays from just before 10 a.m. until just after 2 p.m.
The organization also has a need for a hot lunch to be provided. They rely on senior care companies, businesses, civic organizations and church groups to provide meals for this program.
To volunteer or donate meals you can all the alliance at 903-509-8323.
Copyright 2023 KLTV. All rights reserved.