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ECDC Entrepreneurial Studies Scholarship: Carolyn Brandly

November 1, 2018

Carolyn Brandly grew up without grandparents, but her mom was a nurse in a long-term care facility.

“She would come home from work and tell me warm, funny stories about the older adults she worked with,” Brandly says. “When she brought me to work and introduced me to the people who lived there, I saw them as complete human beings.”

She wonders if this was what set her on her educational and career path of delivering and designing programs for older adults and people with disabilities, specializing in dementia services.

When Brandly graduates from the Master of Arts in Leadership, Health Specialization this year, she will do so as the recipient of the $10,000 Eric C. Douglass Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies Scholarship. The scholarship rewards one student each year who not only excels in entrepreneurial education, but also has a venture ready to launch within six months of funding approval.

Her venture, New Hope Dementia Centres, aims to radically improve quality of life for people with dementia and the family members who care for them by providing on-demand, customized day therapeutic recreation programs and support services.

“By extending the length of time the person with dementia can remain living at home, rather than in residential care, we can lessen both the financial and psychological costs of dementia, and help people live a good life with dementia, for as long as possible,” she says.

Brandly has been working on the idea since 2013, and ran a six-week trial of the day program in 2014 through the Goward House in Cadboro Bay, Victoria.

The response from the community was excellent.

“I heard from the community that there is a demonstrated need for this program—to increase meaning and belonging for people with dementia.”

She says the timing is right for this social venture.

“The number of Canadians with dementia is rising sharply. More than half a million today with 25,000 new cases diagnosed each year. At the same time, a significant shift is taking place from residential care toward home- and community-based care for people with dementia.”

Her research shows innovative solutions so people can live a good life with dementia are urgently required.

Brandly’s next step is to build a local model, before expanding throughout BC.

She says her education at Royal Roads has been critical for her ability to communicate her vision to investors and medical professionals.

“I chose Royal Roads to strengthen my personal leadership abilities, to strengthen my voice, to give me confidence to articulate my ideas.”

Brandly also hopes the scholarship will help her to leverage federal funding designated for woman who are entrepreneurs.

“I feel so strongly about moving forward with this social venture. The award is a push, a jump-start.”