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Community Stories

Community Stories

“Thanks to generous donors like you, my family found hope and support,” Paul Morton.

Every hour, nine seniors are diagnosed with dementia in Canada. “It seems like everyone who I talk to has family or friends suffering for several years from living with dementia,” says Paul Morton.

That is when Paul’s dad was diagnosed with dementia. “Watching my father struggle with accepting the reality of dementia and my mom losing her beloved husband of 55 years was heartbreaking. That is when we reached out to The Dementia Society.” 

“Over our seven-year journey with dementia, it was the staff at The Dementia Society that saw us through our ups and downs,” says Paul. “This is why, before my father passed away in 2016, I became a donor and volunteer at The Dementia Society.” 

Having first-hand experience of a dementia diagnosis, Paul knows that the need for dementia resources and support in the community is very real. He is a strong advocate of dementia awareness and an active participant in The Dementia Society’s biggest annual fundraiser, The BrainyActive Challenge. This year, Paul was also captain of  the top team doing the Challenge, Team GGFL. Though retired from GGFL, Paul lead his former colleagues to raise over $70,000 for the 2022 Challenge. “Supporting a fundraiser like The BrainyActive Challenge gives The Dementia Society more resources to help people in Ottawa and Renfrew County cope with this terrible disease,” says Paul. 

The BrainyActive Challenge: Supporting the 24,000 people living with dementia in our region

The BrainyActive Challenge, held in September during World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, is an invitation to exercise your brain to build a brain-boosting habit while you raise funds to help people living with dementia in Ottawa and Renfrew County.

Thanks to our returning sponsors and loyal supporters, the 2022 BrainyActive Challenge surpassed its fundraising goal and raised $170,000.  “Thanks to generous donors like you, my family found hope and support,” says Paul. 

The 2022 BrainyActive Challenge saw a growing community of people who made brain health their priority. More than 200 participants came together to learn something new and challenge their brains. There were three BrainyActivity streams to choose from: Get Mindful with Anne Hennessy, Get Moving with Bea Alt and Get Nourished with Krystal Merrells. Leaders shared tips, videos and audio to help participants build a healthy habit. 

The Challenge concluded with our first in-person celebration event in three years. On the sunny morning of Sunday, September 25, we gathered at the scenic Canada Agriculture and Food Museum to support people in Ottawa and Renfrew County living with dementia. And our Better Ways, Better Days information fair showcased information about brain health, dementia support and resources available in our community.

Your Support is Needed More than Ever

The demand for support and services for people facing dementia in our region is unprecedented. The Dementia Society is operating at peak levels due to steadily increasing demand since the onset of the pandemic. This year to date, we have delivered over 25% more support to people living with dementia and their caregivers. More people are needing more support. Yet, generally, donations are down dramatically. While we understand the climate of fiscal uncertainty, people in our community need your support. 

Every dollar raised goes to developing and supporting programs that help people in our region facing dementia. This includes our 1:1 Dementia Care Coach service which was developed to assist people based on their individual circumstances. This program was developed by The Dementia Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County and adopted nationally. It was the first of many service innovations developed here, to which we now add The ADAPT Your Home service, in-person, telephone and virtual visiting, and technology-support programs.

“My mom was connected to a Care Coach and took classes and found them invaluable in learning what to expect in dementia,” says Paul. “At later stages when dad was isolating himself, my parents were able to stay social through The Dementia Society’s singing and exercise program that both of them enjoyed.” 

Paul’s journey with dementia has inspired him to share information about the dementia resources available in the community and support us to continue creating and offering programs, services and education free of charge for those impacted by dementia. “As a member of the Dementia Society’s volunteer Board of Directors, I can see that donations are spent mindfully. Our focus is to maximize and extend our support to people living with dementia and their caregivers through programs and services offered both in-person and online. Helping people living with dementia and their caregivers is critical in these difficult times.”

Every Dollar Counts. The Dementia Society counts on donors like you, whether a one-time or monthly donation or participating in an event to help us keep making a difference. There are so many flexible, diverse, and rewarding ways to get involved—all you have to do is make a choice.

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