When Larry started asking his grandchildren why they weren’t in the barn doing chores, his wife Muriel knew there was a problem.

In Larry’s mind he was living on the family farm that he had left behind as a teenager, when in reality, he had lived in the same suburban home for more than 40 years. This type of story is all too familiar to those who have had family members diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

More than half a million Canadians are living with dementia, and that number is expected to rise to almost 1 million people by 2031.

Few of us have been unaffected by this disease, which numbs brilliant minds and strips away one’s identity layer by layer.

When Ecclesiastical was seeking a new national charity with which to partner, the Alzheimer Society of Canada was an obvious choice.

While our relationship with Alzheimer Society of Canada includes a substantial financial donation over several years, the partnership is about a lot more than a simple donation — it’s about building a movement for good.

Our donation will help fund the Alzheimer Society Music Project. Music can bring great happiness and comfort to people with dementia and provides a way for them to connect to those around them, even when words have become difficult.

Ecclesiastical will underwrite research into Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, funding programs that examine the causes of dementia as well as diagnosis and treatments, with the hope that future generations won’t have to fear the disease.

Our partnership will allow our employees to volunteer their time at Alzheimer’s events across the country, using one or more of the paid “volunteer days” provided to every Ecclesiastical staff member. Employees and their families will also participate in the organization’s fundraising walks.

Participants in our Business Associate Program will lend their time and business skills to the charity for a minimum three-month period, supporting the work of the Society while building even deeper bonds between our organizations.

If the Alzheimer Society of Canada has their way, stories such as Larry’s will disappear, going the way of smallpox and polio as a footnote to history. We at Ecclesiastical hope our partnership will help the organization achieve that goal.