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Volunteer Week Spotlight: Moe Archambault, Architect of Infectious Fun

Moe has a dynamic energy that permeates a room. When she takes out the shakers, the drums, or the paddles, it has an infectious effect on the rest of the group. They cast aside their inhibitions and join in enthusiastically, singing and shaking their noisemakers while following Moe’s lead.< One of the originators of The Dementia Society’s Turquoise music program, Moe and group leader Chris White moved into the Southminster United Church when their previous music program was about to lose its home. The participants in that program followed them, in large part because of Moe’s innate ability to connect with every person in the room – both those with dementia and their caregivers. A long- time RPN with the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre, Moe spent a career navigating the changing system as her employers amalgamated, expanded, changed buildings and eventually became what the PRVHC is today. Among other things, the PRVHC is home to The Dementia Society, which is where Moe first walked into the office. While with the Perley, Moe became a volunteer housekeeper to several elderly residents. It is a position she loves and maintains to this day. She considers those residents friends, and spends as much time sitting and talking to them as she does tidying up. She has spent time volunteering at various community centres, the Food Bank, and elsewhere. Now 66 and retired, Moe splits the bulk of her volunteer time between three organizations. One is the Glebe Centre, a nursing home where the choir she assists just held a concert a few weeks ago. When she leaves the choir, she goes to her sewing group. They are sewing teddy bears that get sold every year at a bazaar to benefit the Abbostford Seniors Centre. The other group is The Dementia Society, where Moe has been a volunteer since starting with one of the exercise programs many years ago. There’s one thing that remains consistent in all of Moe’s volunteer work. She has fun. Moe enjoys herself in everything she does, whether that’s sewing teddy bears or leading a group of people with dementia in a rendition of “How Much is that Doggy in the Window”. As a result, those around her have fun as well. A caregiver named Laurie, upon leaving a Turquoise session in March, said “when he leaves here, my dad is himself again”. That’s in large part thanks to Moe. Without her, Turquoise wouldn’t be as much fun as it is, and The Dementia Society wouldn’t be able to put on such an enjoyable and effective music program. Thank you Moe, for everything you do!

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