Lori McLeod vividly recalls a story about her former mother-in-law Donna cheated out of nearly $10,000 by a “Lovely Couple”. Upon further investigation, much to Lori’s horror this lovely couple had developed similar friendships with other tenants in the same seniors-only apartment building. Lori recalls how Donna, a bright, spry senior was ashamed of being duped and like many others were not willing to press charges. Wondering what makes seniors so vulnerable Lori discovered they were often “the forgotten constituent” on many fronts.
As Director of Community Relations and Assistant to the General Manager at CHEK TV and a responsible member of the community, she felt compelled to do something to make a difference. To raise awareness and to support older adults, Lori joined the communication committee for the Juan de Fuca Hospitals Foundation, now the Greater Victoria Eldercare Foundation. Her enthusiasm soon earned her the position of Executive Director for the Eldercare Foundation where she leads the overall management, strategic development, and growth. She has successfully built the Foundation’s identity as a community leader in improving care and quality of life for older adults. She strongly believes that motivating and guiding the board members, staff and volunteers is an integral part of her duty to build a supportive, connected community together.
Driven to spread awareness of seniors-focused resources and services, and to educate older adults to make their aging journey smoother, the Eldercare Foundation launched their Embrace Aging initiative in March 2006. The initiative, strongly supported by the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, is built on the four pillars of Be Well, Be Safe, Be Connected and Be Enriched. Through projects like Embrace Aging, the Eldercare Foundation aims to shine a spotlight on the seniors’ services sector in BC. This initiative has now spread from Greater Victoria to Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, and the Okanagan connecting people of all ages to the wealth of resources, activities and educational opportunities available in their communities. Working with partners such as BC Healthy Communities, Victoria Foundation, and Island Health, activities, focus groups and education sessions are hosted every year to connect people of all ages. Lori believes connecting people gives them a sense of belonging, making them more proactive, more informed, and self-reliant. These skills will help them to be better prepared to seek and to receive the help needed in unfortunate events, such as what happened to Lori’s former mother-in-law.
Among other ventures, Lori and the Eldercare Foundation are currently working with partners across BC to lay the groundwork for a province-wide senior’s strategy to ensure seniors in BC will have choices, services, and supports to age in place with dignity, no matter where they live or what their personal circumstances are.
Along with serving on the advisory board of the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, Lori is the President of the Rotary Club of Oak Bay. Additionally, Lori volunteers for the Capital Regional District Outcomes Monitoring Collaborative and Seniors Serving Seniors. For all her contributions and efforts in making a difference in the lives of older adults, she was listed among Black Press’s Milestone Women of 2014 (page 10).