Jesse Ostroff

Jesse Ostroff

Dollard des Ormeaux’s Jesse Ostroff has a message to share with his peers. During this COVID-19 pandemic, find some time to reach out to neglected seniors.

Jesse is a young ambassador for Hope for Dementia, an organization dedicated to supporting the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of dementia and other cognitive disorders. A few years ago he helped produce the video for A Night To Remember Gala, which provides the delivery of leading-edge intervention, care and support services for individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Beaconsfield’s Scott Broady spearheaded that gala. “We’ve definitely been connecting more than usual during these times, but there will still be a few seniors that get left behind and a five-minute phone call is all it takes to make their day,” said Broady, alluding to a video Jesse made with his 81-year-old grandmother in Mexico.

“I was in Mexico to visit my grandmother right before the pandemic hit,” Jesse says. “What made this trip different was how we bonded over my family history. This dated years before my mother was even born, a much different time. I could tell that talking about this gave her so much joy and I was fascinated to learn about my origins. This pandemic made me cherish those talks a lot more. Hearing about her life, I realized that it was only until now that my generation has experienced a world-altering event. I wanted to reassure her that I was safe and it was a way for me to see that she was too. As a creative professional, I wanted to document this quarantine at some capacity. I watched again all the work I’ve created throughout my career and my most memorable pieces were not of the flashy events, but the impactful stories. I immediately started documenting our conversations. We’ve always been close, but distance plays a factor. However, these past few months we got closer.”

Hope for Dementia had a gala planned for the end of March, which was cancelled. That was when the organization’s Nissa Barkat contacted Jesse about producing some content. “Once I shared how frequently I communicate with my grandmother from Mexico, everything clicked,” Jesse said. “Truthfully, our elders are often neglected. When people see this video, I hope they feel inspired to pick up the phone and check up on their elders. Like I said in the video, ‘five minutes of your day can mean the world to someone else,’ and I truly mean that. I find the message is more relevant than ever given how much more at risk they are and that it may somewhat normal for you, but surely not for them. I hope people who see this video remember that whenever they go out and get inspired to call.”

Jesse has been encouraging everyone he knows to reach out to an isolated individual, regardless of their age. That is why he qualifies as my front-line hero this week.

ALS COACH HAS A MESSAGE: In one of my latest Suburban On Air video segments, I got to speak with Montreal Alouettes head coach Khari Jones and Dr. Pete Gutierrez, one of North America’s leading suicidologists. They are both part of an organization called LivingWorks, the world’s leading provider of suicide prevention solutions. I was already a big fan of Coach Jones. But his message in this chat really impressed me.

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