Our Connections Matter
Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County

March 2021 - Issue 3

Connections That Matter

Hello, Friend!

We hope you are staying safe and well. During this time, our phone lines remain open. If you need to reach our counselling staff, or have questions about programs and services, please call 705-722-1066.

We also invite you to keep checking our website to learn about upcoming online events and programs. You will also be able to catch up on any newsletters you may have missed. Happy reading!

In this edition:

  1. Join us for the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s!
  2. Thank you for joining us on The Quest!
  3. Programs and Services Update
  4. Featured Program
  5. Free Activity Kits Available
  6. Vaccine Rollout
  7. Research Study: Dementia-Inclusive Choices for Exercise
  8. Tax Season is Upon Us! Are You Prepared?
  9. Join us on Social Media!
  10. Meet Jonathan Friedman
  11. Don Saunders didn’t know what hit him
  12. Thank you to the Waterford Barrie Retirement Residence!
  13. Empower Women Impacted by Dementia this International Women’s Day
  14. Celebrate Brain Awareness Week!
  15. We’re Here for You

Join us for the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s


Save the date! May 30, 2021 we will be celebrating our 23rd annual Walk for Alzheimer’s! On this day and the weeks leading up to the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s, we are looking for participants to join our mission and Walk 10,006 steps for the 10,006 people in Simcoe County living with dementia! The Walk also supports the countless care partners, family members, and friends who are affected by this disease.

Once again, we will be “walking” virtually, and connecting to each other online. You can Walk anywhere! From the safety of your own backyard, a local trail or park, up and down your stairs, or even a stroll through your neighbourhood. On the day of the Walk, tune in to our Facebook page for a morning warm-up courtesy of Julie Wynhofen of Lean Fitness & Wellness.

There are more exciting plans and activities in the works for the days leading up to and the day of the Walk! Save the date and stay tuned to the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County website and social media platforms for new details. Registration opens March 1st.

Funds raised will support the delivery of safe and effective programs and services to meet the increased needs of people living with and affected by dementia in our community.

Please contact Katherine Breeson, Events Coordinator, events.simcoe@alzheimersociety.ca for more information and for sponsorship opportunities.

Thank you for joining us on The Quest!

The Quest

Over these last 4 weeks, people from across Ontario have embraced their heroic duty by fundraising and completing a variety of Quest activities to show their support for people living with dementia and their care partners. By completing The Quest, they have made sure that those impacted by dementia will have access to more solutions, more funds, and more supports.

We thank everyone for their contributions and for successfully completing The Quest. You truly are a Hero.

Programs and Services Update

Our staff team continues to work from home offices to connect with you virtually and /or over the phone. We will be evaluating our ability to provide in-person programs and services in accordance with public health advice and Ministry of Health guidelines. Any updates to our service plan will be communicated through these monthly newsletters, on our website, and via our social media channels. Thank you for your continuing patience and understanding.

Featured Program - Living Well with Dementia

Living Well with Dementia is a 6-part series designed for people newly diagnosed with dementia, and their care partners. The goal of the program is to help people understand their diagnosis and the changes they may be experiencing, as well as offering participants an opportunity to share and connect with others. Topics covered during this course include:

  • What is dementia?
  • Adapting to change
  • Building resilience
  • Enhancing communication
  • Living safely
  • Staying well

Upcoming Dates:

Mondays, March 22 - April 26, 2021

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Online via Zoom

Click here to register, or contact Erika Rice at erice@alzheimersociety.ca or 705-329-0909 ext. 3802.

Free Activity Kits Available

The Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County received funding from the Canada Emergency Community Support Fund through the United Way Simcoe Muskoka to create and distribute activity kits to our clients. Kits are available for a range of abilities and interests and are meant to help keep people living with dementia engaged during this time of physical distancing.


Below are some examples of activity kits, but we have many more options! All kits also come with an exercise ball and some simple at-home exercise instructions. Click here to discover all activity kits available.

Please note that there may be a delay in kit delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Email Erika at erice@alzheimersociety.ca for more information and to order your kit.


Vaccine Rollout

The Government of Ontario has committed to vaccinating individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their care partners in phase two of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout strategy. The Alzheimer Society calls for seniors living with dementia to be explicitly included as a priority population for vaccination during phase two, inclusive of care partners to these individuals.

See the Alzheimer Society of Ontario’s statement “Protecting Our Most Vulnerable" here.

Research Study: Dementia-Inclusive Choices for Exercise


Researchers at the University of Waterloo are looking for people living with dementia and care partners to participate in a research study, called the Dementia-Inclusive Choices for Exercise (DICE) project.

This project will examine the usability and benefits of two handouts, one that summarizes the benefits and recommendations for physical activity and a wallet card.

Anyone who is living with dementia, a care partner, or family member is eligible to this study. You will participate in two meetings over the phone or Internet, review both resources, and then be invited for a follow-up interview. With permission, the interviews will be audio-recorded so all the information shared is with the researchers.

Participants will be given remuneration of $25 for completing this study.

If you have any questions about this study, or would like additional information to assist you in reaching a decision regarding the distribution of a recruitment poster in your organization, please feel free to contact Melissa Koch at m4koch@uwaterloo.ca or Dr. Laura Middleton at laura.middleton@uwaterloo.ca.

Tax Season is Upon Us! Are You Prepared?

It’s that time of year again—tax season. Whether you love it or hate it, the best thing to do is be prepared - especially if you’re a care partner living in Ontario! You may even be eligible to receive tax credits.

Not sure what information you’ll need? Check out our blog series on everything a care partner should know before doing their taxes!

Part 1: What’s the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction?

Part 2: The Canada Caregiver Credit

Part 3: Your caregiver tax questions, answered

Join Us on Social Media!

Social media

Follow us! Did you know that you can find out the latest information from the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County through our social media channels?

  • The latest programs, services and education available month by month.
  • Facebook Live sessions every other Monday to educate about everything Alzheimer’s.
  • Updates about current events and fundraisers.
  • Timely news stories relevant to our clients & followers.
  • Smile-worthy and inspirational posts to brighten your day.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter today:




And check out our YouTube Channel here:


Meet Jonathan Friedman


Jonathan Friedman joined the Board of Directors in 2019. He deals with dementia every day in his work as the owner and principal of a firm focussing on estate litigation, trust, capacity and guardianship disputes. Jonathan also has family members who live with dementia. He joined the Board to learn more about the impact of dementia so he could improve his professional and personal interactions with people living with dementia, and their care partners and families.

This is Jonathan’s first experience serving on the Board of a charitable organization. He finds the other members of the Board bring important perspectives as both personal and professional health care partners, politicians, accountants, business persons, and individuals who work in other health related fields. This diversity is the strength of the Board. Everyone’s perspective is important to the discussion and decision-making processes.

Jonathan says that the main focus of the Board is “what is best for the person living with dementia, their care partners and families. The Board is always looking for new opportunities to help the person living with dementia and their care partners”.

Jonathan encourages people who have comments, questions, ideas to engage with the Board of Directors. This input would be considered in the spirit of enhancing what the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County can offer to the people it serves.

Jonathan, his wife and two daughters live in Barrie.

Don Saunders didn’t know what hit him.

Don Saunders

One minute he was rehearsing his role in the Goldovsky Opera Company production of Carmen, in New York City, and the next thing he knew he had fallen madly in love. It was 1968 and the talented actor/singer was shell-shocked as he found himself partnered on stage with Joni Morcom.

“She completely knocked me off my feet. Here I was singing with the most gorgeous soprano I had ever seen in my life. I actually had a hard time focusing. She was breathtaking with gorgeous red hair, the most stunning blue eyes and her voice — it was incredible,” says Don. “When we sang together it was magic.”

The beautiful soprano with the fiery red hair would also be instantly smitten with the handsome actor and for the next 43 years they would continue to make beautiful music together. The duo were inseparable travelling the world with opera companies such as the Goldovsky Opera Company and Turnau Opera Company performing, among others, their favorite opera La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi.

They also created a duo act, ‘Joni and Don’ which they took to night clubs and on cruise ships performing opera and show tunes. “I have to say when we worked together the sparks flew off each other it was so much fun,” says Saunders.

In 1977 the couple decided to plant some roots and chose the quiet and peaceful town of Churchill for their home. It was then Joni decided to explore her passion for art and became well known for her exquisite portraiture. She was commissioned to do a series for the Barrie Sports Hall of Fame, which is on display at the Allandale Recreation Centre, as well as the Simcoe County Museum.

While Joni immersed herself in her art, Don continued acting and singing on stage, television and in commercials. Faithful Gryphon Theatre goers will remember him in many productions such as Hobson’s Choice (1985), Honeymoon for Three (1996), Run for your Wife (1997), and Over the River and Through the Woods (2000).

The couple continued to share their mutual passion for music, eventually singing together in the church choir at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Churchill.

Then one day Joni began to forget. Her paintings were taking her an unusually long time to complete.

“This was a woman who could memorize a three-act opera in a week,” says Don.

During the next few years Don would see the woman he adored slowly sink into a sea of forgetfulness. Joni had Alzheimer’s disease and although much of her world would become strange to her, two things remained her love for Don and their music.

“It was awful to watch. Here was a woman with such a love for life, so talented and so beautiful. To lose a bit of her every day was devastating,” says Don, wiping the tears from his eyes. “Yet, she remembered the music and even during her final days we would sit and sing. I would hold her. I remember her leaning on me and saying, ‘I love you.’”

Then on February 22, 2011, Joni passed away at the age of 78 from complications related to pneumonia.  Don knew that her love of life, music and art had to live on.

Don is making sure that happens.

A scholarship for a student at the Kempenfelt Bay School who demonstrated talent and passion for both art and music was set up in Joni’s name. Donations were made to the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County among several others in memory of Joni.

Don Saunders

And still Don does more.

Each year Don makes an annual donation to the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County in memory of Joni. Don works tirelessly volunteering for us; his participation in the Speakers Bureau is a performance of its own, engaging the groups he speaks to with his and Joni’s story woven throughout the presentation.

Don has also volunteered for Tag Days in the past, bringing a smile to every donor’s face when they encountered him outside one of the many retail locations where we tag across Simcoe County. In addition, Don is a greeter at our annual walk and participates in our Minds in Motion program.

We honor Joni in memory, and thank you, Don, for all you do for people living with and caring for people with dementia in Simcoe County.

“God, what a class act she was. I’m so glad I was able to do this in her honour,” says Don.

Don & Joni’s story written by Donna Danyluk

Thank you to the Waterford Barrie Retirment Residence!

Thank you

We extend our sincerest thank you to all the residents and staff at Waterford Barrie Retirement Residence who held a special fundraising event in honour of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month! In these times of social isolation, to have an organization such as Waterford Barrie create a safe and enjoyable event for its residents and team while supporting the Alzheimer Society is truly appreciated. Thank you!

Empower Women Impacted by Dementia this International Women’s Day

Women are disproportionately impacted by dementia—those living with dementia and care partners alike. In fact, 72% of Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease are women and in general, women are more likely to become the primary care partner to someone living with dementia.

On March 8, empower the women in your life who are living with dementia, the women who are caring for someone living with dementia, and women every where, by reaching out and letting them know you are there for them.

Celebrate Brain Awareness Week!

From March 15-21, celebrate Brain Awareness Week by keeping your brain healthy and active! The brain is one of your most vital organs and just like the rest of your body, it needs lots of care. That’s why we’ve put together some ways you can keep your brain healthy:

  1. Challenge your brain by trying something new, completing crossword puzzles, pursuing new hobbies like knitting, or changing the way you do a task, like brushing your hair with your less dominant hand.
  2. Stay connected and be socially active by calling or video chatting your friends and family.
  3. Choose a healthier lifestyle by eating well, reducing stress, exercising, and practising self-care.

We’re Here for You

Do you need someone to talk to or information and resources about Alzheimer's disease and other dementias? We're here for you.

The Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County is always there to support you whether you are a care partner, person living with dementia, or a family member who needs assistance.

Contact us at simcoecounty@alzheimersociety.ca today to learn more about our programs, services, and resources that are available to you.

Donate Now

People living with Alzheimer’s and dementia are especially vulnerable at this time, if you are able to, please consider supporting the essential services and programs that benefit this community.

Our mailing address is:
20 Anne Street South, P.O. Box 1414
Barrie, Ontario L4M 5R4

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