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November 2018

New SE Ontario Lived Experience Network Facilitator


                                 Lived Experience Network Facilitator for South East Ontario

We are pleased to announce and welcome Vicky Willis to the position of Lived Experience Facilitator for South East Ontario. 

We believe in order to create meaningful services and supports; the voice of those using these services must be heard. The Lived Experience Network is a joint initiative with Providence Care, the Alzheimer Societies of South East Ontario, and the people living the dementia care journey. To date there have been over 900 people with lived experience involved in advisory conversations. We would like to acknowledge the tremendous work of Sharon Osvald in starting the Lived Experience Network in 2013 and wish her well in her new role with the Alzheimer Society Hastings, Prince Edward. Sharon will be working with Vicky as she transitions into the role of Lived Experience Facilitator.

Vicky is originally from Toronto and attended St Lawrence College Kingston for Fashion Design.  While in Kingston, Vicky met her husband Jeff who at the time was attending the Royal Military College.  Vicky and Jeff were married in 1986 and have two daughters (29 & 26).  With Jeff’s military career they lived in many places throughout Canada and spent 2 years in Germany on the Rhine with the British Army. Vicky has worked in a variety of positions with the most recent as an Administrator in an Addictions clinic after pursuing an accelerated degree in Health Information Management.

In 2010, Jeff was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Lobe Dementia at the age of 47 and lived at home for 4 years with Vicky as his main partner in care. With increasing concerns for Jeff’s safety and well-being, Vicky was faced with the difficult decision to transition Jeff into a Long Term Care Home. Jeff remained in Long Term Care for 4 more years and passed away May 1, 2018. Vicky has participated in support groups with the Alzheimer Societies in both Kingston and Leeds & Grenville. In addition, Vicky facilitated a support group in Gananoque for 2 years.  In 2014, Vicky was one of four people in Ontario to win the Heart of Home Care Award, being recognized for her extraordinary efforts caring for her husband enabling him to live at home for as long as possible!

Vicky and Jeff’s journey with frontotemporal lobe dementia; Vicky’s passion to hear the voices of lived experience; and her commitment to improve the system of care by having conversations that matter will be invaluable as she assumes the role of Lived Experience Facilitator.  Vicky transitions to her new role on November 26, 2018. 

Please join us in welcoming Vicky and we look forward to your ongoing participation in the South East Lived Experience Network!


Vicki Poffley, Executive Director Alzheimer Society KFLA

Kathy Baker, Regional Director Seniors Mental Health Behavioural Support Services, Providence Care

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