Dementia Friends Leadership Luncheon
On Friday, June 21, 2019, the Alzheimer Society of PEI held its 18th Annual Dementia Friends Leadership Luncheon at Rodd’s Charlottetown Hotel. This annual event provides the Alzheimer Society with an opportunity to recognize volunteers and caregivers, and present prestigious awards, certificates and recognition pins. This year we were thrilled to have Premier Dennis King join us for this celebration.
We would like to thank our 2019 Table Sponsors: D.P. Murphy Inc.; Dr. John Gillis Memorial Lodge; Health PEI – Long Term Care; Key Murray Law; Murphy Healthcare; Murray Stevenson; Neurodyn; Parkdale Sherwood Lions Club; PEI Seniors Homes; and The Gray Group. Also special thank you to the Atlantic Superstore for supplying us with carnations for the annual flower ceremony.
The Dementia Friends Leadership Award
This award was established in 2002 to encourage, support and inspire partnerships and excellence in dementia care. This award is the highest honour presented by the Alzheimer Society of PEI. It recognizes a person or organization who exemplifies excellence in person-centered care while promoting programs and services for all those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
This year’s, we were delighted to present the Dementia Friends Leadership Award to Lynn Loftus!
Lynn Loftus has been involved as a volunteer for the Alzheimer Society of PEI for almost 30 years. She has served on the Board of Directors in a variety of roles including President, Vice President and currently, Secretary. After living the journey of Alzheimer’s disease with both her mother and father, she was certainly no stranger to the condition and quickly became an invaluable part of our team.
In March 2018, Lynn received her own diagnosis of dementia at the age of 71. Since then, she has become a strong advocate for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, sharing her message at several events including the Alzheimer’s Awareness Conference, the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimers, and the East Prince Seniors Conference. Last May, she and her husband Brian represented PEI at the National Dementia Conference to provide input on Canada’s recently released National Dementia Strategy. She is also an active member of the Alzheimer Society of Canada’s National Advisory Board for Persons Living with Dementia.
Lynn shared, “Now, as I walk the journey of living with dementia, I am doing all I can to remove the stigma attached to living with the disease and I am grateful that there is support for my beloved husband, who is my caregiver. We are grateful that we have learned so much about this disease and what I can do and what WE can do.” Lynn’s message can frequently be summed up as “I’m Still Me”.
Dementia Friends Leadership Award recipients:
- 2019 – Lynn Loftus
- 2018 - Giselle MacKinnon
- 2017 - Dr. Jackalina Van Kampen
- 2016 - Corrine Arsenault
- 2015 - Dr. Janice Keefe
- 2014 - Murray Stevenson
- 2013 - Joan Coffin, MSW
- 2012 - Mr. Ewen Stewart
- 2011 - Doug MacKenzie & Dr. John Gillis Memorial Lodge
- 2010 - Parkdale Sherwood Lions Club
- 2009 - Jean Zaat
- 2008 - Eric Kipping
- 2007 - Elizabeth Strong Reagh
- 2006 - Dr. Tim Stultz
- 2005 - UPEI School of Nursing
- 2004 - Colville Manor, Souris
- 2003 - Marguerite Connolly & RCW program
- 2002 - Danny Murphy
The Ferne Stevenson Caregiver Award
In 2015 we wanted to recognize a very important caregiver who has done so much for our community. We decided this would be best done with a new award that we would present annually alongside the Dementia Friends Leadership Award. We named this award after the late Ferne Stevenson who had recently passed away. Ferne was an amazing caregiver and such a huge supporter to our beloved society. Caregivers are the unsung heroes within our communities. They are family members, friends, and neighbours who are supporting, caring for, and making a difference in the lives of people with dementia.
This year we were delighted to present the Ferne Stevenson Caregiver Award to Fred Foster and Lew Robinson!
When the Alzheimer Society reached out to the community of RCMP Veterans Association seeking support for a former comrade living with dementia and his wife, Fred and Lew answered the call. They stepped in to create a circle of friendship and truly embodied the concept of working as a team. They always made sure that at least one of them would be able to visit their friend each week.
“We had no idea what to expect when we both decided to take him “under our wings”. But boy did we learn fast. He was always a very outgoing, personable, happy man where everyone enjoyed his presence. By taking him on, getting him out to meet his buddies, relieving his wife to give her some well-deserved me time, gave us both a feeling of being able to help our buddy but to also help his family. We were diligent in visiting him in the late stages of his disease, knowing there would be times he wouldn’t even recognize us. It didn’t matter. It made us feel we were at least doing something”, Fred and Lew reflected. “If there’s a message in this journey, then we want it to be you can do it as well. It just takes a little compassion and a little time. We don’t regret a single minute.”
They have also acted as a support to many other RCMP veterans, taking part in monthly lunch meetings and weekly coffee dates. They frequently offer drives to those in need and act as a key resource to connect others with information about dementia and financial benefits available to them. Robert Moffatt, retired RCMP superintendent, shared: “They live their lives with quality and compassion. I am proud to call Fred and Lew my friends.”
Fred and Lew are also active supporters of the Alzheimer’s Society. They have served as a guest panelist for the January Alzheimer’s Awareness Conference, and the Dementia Friends Leadership Luncheon. They were also featured in a poster message encouraging Islanders to consider giving their time to support a friend living with dementia.
Past Ferne Stevenson Caregiver Award recipients:
- 2019 - Fred Foster & Lew Robinson
- 2018 - Bethany Doyle
- 2017 - Jacinta Stewart
- 2016 - Sheila MacDonald
- 2015 - Dr. John Flood