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Careforce Wins $10,000 Innovation Award From Nova Scotia Co-Operative Council

Careforce Home Care Worker Co-operative Ltd. to set up Alzheimer Cafés in the Valley.

KENTVILLE, NOVA SCOTIA—Careforce Home Care Worker Co-operative of Kentville has been awarded $10,000 by the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council to establish two Alzheimer Cafés in the Annapolis Valley.

The award is the first prize in a competition held this spring to support and develop innovation in the co-operative sector. Announced at the Co-op Council’s Annual General Meeting on June 28, the prize consists of $10,000 cash and 10 days of mentoring over the next two years. The Co-op Council also awarded cash prizes of $5,000 and $2,000 accompanied by mentoring to two other co-ops.

The first Alzheimer Café will open in Kentville in September to honour World Alzheimer Day, which falls on September 21. The second café will open soon afterward in Greenwood. Both cafés will be held monthly and will be open to people with dementia, their family members and caregivers. The main purpose will be social, although they will also offer information by way of guest speakers, panels and videos.

“People with dementia are often isolated,” says Debbie Raine, Manager of Careforce. “The cafés are intended to allow them and their families to meet other people and share their experiences in a supportive, relaxed environment.”

The Kentville and Greenwood cafés are believed to be only the second and third Alzheimer Cafés in all of Canada. The first was opened last February in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, under the auspices of the St. Francis Xavier University School of Nursing.

“Our Alzheimer Cafés will focus on people with dementia, allowing them a place to come and interact socially,” says Nancy Blezy, a registered nurse and Nurse Case Manager at Careforce. “As people make informal connections with others around a table, they recognize that someone is in the same boat as they are. They learn from each other.”

Alzheimer Cafés started 14 years ago in the Netherlands to provide support, information and social engagement for Alzheimer patients, their families and caregivers. The idea quickly spread to other European countries including the UK. In the USA, the first Alzheimer Café opened in 2008. Details of Careforce’s Alzheimer Cafés will be publicized closer to their opening dates. Information will also appear on the company’s website: www.careforce.ca.