Meet The Owner – Karen Cazemier
Karen developed a love for the elderly at a very young age. As a child she spent many hours painting her grandmother’s nails, serving tea to her Dutch visitors and playing endless card games. Later she helped care for her aging grandfather and often would sit for hours with him just talking and listening to his stories about Holland and his tales of World War 2.
She first trained to become a Teacher and obtained her B.Ed from the University of Alberta and then moved to the United States where she became Chief of Staff and an Executive in Technology at Level 3 Communications and at Amazon.com with an emphasis in Statistics and Analysis. She studied her Masters Degree in Engineering Management at Colorado University in Boulder and also 2 years of Interior Design education at Arapahoe College in Denver and then launched her own interior design company in 2003.
For the last 10 years of her technology career she listened and watched as her mother cared for her ailing grandmother. At 92 years of age, the family was faced with a crisis of not being able to find a suitable long- term care placement for her. Miraculously the family discovered a small private home for 10 residents that had been run by two local nurses in Red Deer. Here they were able to secure a beautiful loving home where their grandmother could get the care she needed in an environment that still felt like and even looked like her grandmother’s own home. Karen watched as her grandmother began to thrive for the remainder of her years. Her mother, the original caregiver, was able to sleep at night, having peace of mind that her mom was getting the best care she could find for her.
It was then that Karen realized the huge need for better long term care for Albertans and that more homes like this needed to become available options to the elderly. The concept of placing the elderly into massive lodges and institutional facilities seemed impractical, impersonal and unsustainable at a large scale. Karen decided then that she wanted to make a difference for the seniors of Alberta.
In 2011, Karen resigned her position at Amazon.com and moved back to Alberta to launch Community Care Cottages Inc. Willow Cottage was opened in October of 2011, and Maple Cottage followed shortly after in the fall of 2012 along with Aspen Cottage in April of 2013. She is now launching Cottonwood Cottage just outside of Lethbridge in April 2015.
Together with a team of qualified Nurses, Doctors and Health Care Aides Karen has been able to achieve a higher level of care and create groups of loving homes for seniors to thrive in at the end of their years. She hopes to provide many more homes across Alberta and to lobby the government in order to enable Seniors to have access to government funding for private care homes as a long term care solution.
Karen finds a deep satisfaction in what she is doing now and believes wholeheartedly in the concept of the elderly living in community with others. She believes deeply in the value and the respect that the elderly deserve in their final years.