Connect's History & Purpose

  • The need: There are currently over 100,000 people in Alabama, living with Alzheimer’s Disease. This does not include those with other dementias, Parkinson’s Disease, and stroke. There are more than 6 million people in the US living with Alzheimer’s, and over 11.5 million people provide their unpaid care.

          ***2023 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.

  • Connect is a program that provides fellowship and stimulation for people who have memory loss due to Alzheimer’s Disease, other dementias, Parkinson’s Disease, stroke, or other memory-related disorders.
  • Participants have an opportunity to socialize with others, while enjoying a variety of stimulating activities, including music therapy, movement and exercise, arts and crafts, intergenerational activities, pet-assisted therapy, service projects, and more.
  • Connect is a social model that is volunteer based. No meds are passed. The program is open to all residents of Tuscaloosa County. No referral is needed. No diagnosis is needed.
  • Connect is designed to fill people living with memory loss with identity, connection, security, autonomy, meaning, growth, and joy.
  • Caring for a family member or loved one is gratifying, but it is also challenging. Connect is a Respite Care program that is designed to relieve caregivers for a period of time so that they can take care of business, run errands, or other. Connect allows the caregiver to enjoy peace of mind, knowing that their loved ones are cared for in a safe and loving environment.
  • Caregiver support group meets during Connect, once a month.
  • Participants must be able to attend to their own bathroom needs, participate in social activities, and feed themselves
  • Currently, Connect meets on Tuesdays, from 10:00am-2:00pm and on Wednesdays from 9:30-1130am at Christ Episcopal Church, but plans are underway to offer additional days per week.
  • Connect is a local program that is based on the Respite for All Foundation, in Montgomery, AL, model. It was started at Christ Episcopal Church in March, 2022.
  • Katherine Gould, a member of Christ Episcopal Church, became familiar with Respite for All Foundation, when her father, who lives with Parkinson’s Disease, began attending the Respite program at the First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. Katherine saw firsthand the impact that the program had on her father, and she was compelled to start the program in Tuscaloosa. She saw the need for a program that could provide socialization, cognitive stimulation, intentional activities, friendships, etc., but that could also provide a place for her father to feel that he still has a purpose.
  • There is a stigma often associated with memory loss and cognitive impairment. Many people living with memory loss disorders often live in isolation. It is often believed that those living with memory loss do not have anything to contribute. This could not be further from the truth! A respite program, like Connect, opens up a whole new way of being for those living with memory loss. There is no judgement. Many opportunities to succeed are provided each day. The person is encouraged and cared for by volunteers who have a passion for people in general, but especially for this population.
  • Every participant (which we call Friends) and volunteer wear the same nametags. There is no distinction made between participants and Friends. Friends are given jobs and participate side by side with volunteers, who are from a variety of backgrounds. This non-judgmental and intergenerational model elicits feelings of comfort, wellbeing, and belonging.
  • There is much laughter, camaraderie, and growth week over week. Participants who come to Connect for the first time quiet and reserved slowly bloom. It brings joy to everyone involved.
  • You are invited to come to Connect on a Tuesday or Wednesday for a no-commitment, firsthand experience of the joy and love that is shared by the participants, volunteers, preschool, and staff. Just call Lori Barrett at (561) 797-5867, to schedule your visit!

About Connect

A social program where pathways to improved lives are created by providing a vibrant space with engaging activities and opportunities for building friendships that are supported by people who are passionate about showing love to others and are trained to provide care for people living with memory loss, due to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Stroke, Dementia, or other memory-related disorders.