Kathy Wright was the First Executive Director of the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa-Carleton, now known as the Dementia Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County, which launched in 1985. Under Ms. Wright’s leadership, the organization grew from a one-person office to one of 25 staff, hundreds of volunteers and more than 3,500 clients. It provides information, resources, education, support and counseling to those with dementia and their caregivers.
Ms. Wright has led many successful initiatives and programs, ranging from fundraising and advocacy work to the creation of respite and specialized community-based programming, such as Minds in Song and Minds in Motion. A partnership was established with the City of Ottawa to build and design the Bungalows at the Peter D. Clark Long-Term Care Home for those with dementia. Working with the Champlain Dementia Network, she helped establish the First Link Framework, a program that links individuals and families to a community of dementia learning, services and support. It is now recognized as a best practice in Ontario. She established the Guest House with the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre and VON Ottawa, now Carefor Health and Community Services, the first to provide an appropriate, home-like setting for overnight respite for those with dementia. Ms. Wright worked closely with the Champlain Dementia Network and was co-chair with the leads of the Regional Geriatric Program of Eastern Ontario for 10 years. The network provides leadership on the implementation of a regional dementia strategy.
Ms. Wright was the recipient of the Regional Geriatric Program of Eastern Ontario’s Award for Exemplary Leadership and Commitment to the Development of Geriatric Services in 2016.
Ms. Wright achieved many accomplishments in her 30 years of dedicated service to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, transforming the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County, and improving access, awareness and support to a growing number of individuals with dementia and their families.