An update from our research assistants…RecreACTIVE

 In Awareness Blog

In the past six weeks we have worked as Research Assistants for the Sheridan Elder Research Centre (SERC) and Recreational Respite. As part of the research that SERC is conducting with Recreational Respite, we have been learning about the recreational services available to adults with early-stage dementia and adults aging with an intellectual disability in the Halton and Peel regions.  We were drawn to Amy’s initiative by her passion and her desire to provide much-needed services to people who would benefit most from individualized programming. We have both found it exciting to be part of a project that could have such a significant impact on Amy’s clients and their families.  One thing that is clear is that there is a significant need for programs for adults with early-stage dementia and adults aging with an intellectual disability in the Halton and Peel regions. The existing programs do an amazing job working with these individuals, but there is definitely a need for specialized programming to meet the complex needs of this population.  We are learning that dementia, for instance, does not have an age preference; in fact, many people are being diagnosed as early as forty years old. Through our research this summer so far, we are discovering that there are very few younger participants in the earlier stages of dementia that are attending a recreational program, and are seemingly falling through the cracks.  Part of our study is to understand why there is a lack of attendance, and what services may prove to be the most helpful to this particular group.

As a society, we have made great advances in terms of programming and recognizing the need for services for people with cognitive impairments of all forms.  It is imperative that programs evolve to adapt to the growing needs of the community, and work together to help fill the gaps in services.  We are proud to say that Recreational Respite fits within the spectrum of these existing programs by gearing programming directly to the individual needs of the client – offering a flexible program that is completely unique. We are happy to be working with an organization that provides such necessary and valuable services to their clients!

SPECIAL NOTE: we are currently looking for a variety of locations throughout the communities to host our programs.  For more details or if you have/know of a location that would be a great fit- please call Amy MacFarlane at 1-877-855-7070 or

This program is launching September 2011.

Sarah and Rachel
Research Assistants
Sheridan Elder Research Centre (SERC)

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