Alzheimer’s Association-Interview with staff- Theresa Thomas by Angie August

Have funding changes had an impact on your service delivery?

Absolutely I think the biggest impact has been the line impact at the state level that we had for restive care. So it has really impacted dollars to our families to help offset that cost.

What is restive care?

Allows them to have somebody come in the home to support them. Allows the caregiver to have a little break while somebody came in, whether its companion services so they can go shopping or to keep an eye on a loved one. That’s been huge and I do not know if we see that changing at all. Under the Kasich administration it was an extreme decline or lowering amount. We go to Columbus once a year. We have our families come and allow them to share their story. I get very choked up listening to clients tell their story. They so bravely tell their story. So that is probably the biggest challenge for us, the lower amounts were allocated.

Do you raise the money to cover the difference in costs?

No we do not raise that money. We coordinate so there is still some dollars allocated for restive but it is on a much smaller scale so that makes it hard.

What careers in the nonprofit field do you see shrinking or growing?

Actually I see all careers in nonprofits growing. As we as a country are looking at our deficit, we are only going to see more and more where government is going to look to the outside, nonprofit world nongovernmental agencies, to provide aid. I see leadership roles and much different variety of roles growing in the nonprofit world to meet the need the government is no longer to support and I do not see that changing in the future.

What funding changes has your organization experienced in the last couple of years other than the governmental impact?

We had the down market so the recession era, we did see a decline but not a major decline from dollars received from donors. And I think that that recession targeted a specific group for the most part. Yes it impacted everybody, but those that were wealthier and more charitibabily inclined, they were no impacted. We did see more growth in our walk during the recession. We believe as an association we have been focusing dollars toward awareness and advertising we did not do before. I think that helps think people more to the organization. The campaigns they put out are really good.

Has your organization formed interorgnaiztion partnerships to meet demands of the community?

Yes, I can give you number examples of that. The memory resource center is a partnership with Wright State University and St. Leonard’s. St. Leonard’s has given us some space that we have set up what we call our community based memory resource center. It is for families to bring somebody with dementia and is outcomes and measurement based. So there is an evaluation piece and it is very personalized. They come up with activities like music and videos that are truly linked to a person’s interested and life. I think it is a wonderful asset. My father had Alzheimer’s and I wish we would have had something like that because you run out of ideas. The way the area is structured so they have private and family rooms. Once a month they have parties and they give the patients actual jobs. So they feel like they are helping us and people really love it.

With the challenges of working in a nonprofit, how do you stay motivated with the work you do?

I think that it really helps me to stay connected with families because sometimes you can get so focused on a specific event or activity and I think you do lose sight of what is happening on a day to day basis. So for me, I am also involved in our helpline. I take helpline calls and if people just walk in and need to down and help them. That is very empowering to me. And at our events I make sure I am talking with some of our families. And truly it is not too hard because some of our families are volunteering at some of our events so I am working with them there so hearing their story and their journey is really empowering.




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