The Brenda Strafford Foundation

we serve these populations

  • aging population

The Brenda Strafford Foundation Ltd. was established on August 15, 1975 by Dr. Barrie I. Strafford to honour his late wife, Brenda Strafford who tragically passed away in a car accident in 1974. The Foundation was created when Dr. Strafford converted his business, River View Nursing Home Ltd., in Medicine Hat, into a registered Canadian charitable organization. When River View Nursing Home was sold, Bow View Nursing Home (owned by Dr. Strafford since 1963) became The Foundation’s base in Calgary.

The Brenda Strafford Foundation’s core business is seniors care, and The Foundation has grown to own and operate four Long Term Care and Assisted Living seniors care facilities in Calgary and Okotoks, Alberta, serving over 1000 seniors.

As a registered charity, The Foundation is involved in a number of projects for innovation in seniors health and wellness. As well, The Foundation supports local charitable projects to serve women and children who are fleeing domestic violence, families at risk of homelessness, and persons in need of health services abroad in Haiti, Jamaica and Dominica. The Foundation also has a close affiliation with research at the University of Calgary.

In 2015, The Brenda Strafford Foundation proudly celebrated 40 years of exemplary service.

In 2016, our Founder and Chairman Dr. Strafford passed away at the age of 87. He was an active member of The Brenda Strafford Foundation until his very last days, leaving a thriving legacy in his wife’s name that is well-positioned to now honour his legacy also. Dr. Strafford loved helping others in need, especially marginalized groups, or populations where circumstances were preventing them from enjoying a quality of life and a level of dignity many of us take for granted every day. That torch has now been passed on to us to carry.

The Brenda Strafford Foundation is grateful for the continued support of the Strafford family, and the Foundation’s commitment to our Mission, Vision and Values remains true to our guiding philosophy…

The Preservation of Dignity and The Pursuit of Happiness.

The Brenda Strafford Foundation has a long history of providing services to those in need. We are an organization supported by volunteers who work with us at our sites and on our Board of Directors.


Seniors Care:

The Foundation owns and operates four Continuing Care Facilities in Alberta with more than 850 long-term care, supportive living, respite and private care beds and 1000 employees.


Research and Education:

The Foundation continues to actively support research endeavors at the University of Calgary including:

·         The Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging, Medical Director Dr. David Hogan.

·         The Brenda Strafford Chair in Geriatric Medicine, occupied by Dr. Jayna Holroyd-Leduc

·         The Brenda Strafford Chair in Alzheimer Research, occupied by Dr. Marc Poulin.

·         The Brenda Strafford Chair in the Prevention of Domestic Violence at the Faculty of Social Work, occupied by Ms. Lana Wells.

The Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging has a mandate to enhance the health and wellness of seniors and better inform public policy with regard to seniors’ issues through coordinated research, teaching and learning, and community outreach efforts. In 2016, the Centre moved under the umbrella of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health, to build its capacity to serve as an administrative and collaborative hub for University of Calgary aging research and interdisciplinary educational programming undertaken by the faculties of Kinesiology, Medicine, Nursing, Social Work and others as the Centre grows. The Centre is led by Medical Director, Dr. David Hogan, and Scientific Coordinator, Ann Toohey.

In 2016, The Foundation established a Research Advisory Group. This group of external academic researchers advise The Foundation on how to identify and implement research initiatives that benefit the residents we serve and contribute to advancing knowledge and practice to support the improved health and wellness of seniors.

Six research themes have been identified as areas of focus for The Foundation. These themes were derived after speaking with researchers and stakeholders, conducting environmental scans and collaborating with the executive team and other Foundation employees. The research themes are:

1.      Enhance dementia care

2.      Optimizing technology, design and service systems

3.      Transitions in care for older adults

4.      Social engagement

5.      Falls research

6.      Resident and Family Centered Care

These research and teaching supports reflect The Foundation’s commitment to our core value of Leadership, to propel The Foundation and seniors care forward by supporting new knowledge and advancing the services we, and others provide.


 Alberta-based Charitable Projects:

The Brenda Strafford Foundation supports the following charitable programs and services in the Calgary area:

·         The Brenda Strafford Society for the Prevention of Domestic Violence provides 31 second stage shelter and 51 progressive housing units to women and children fleeing domestic violence.  The Brenda Strafford Centre, established a new standard of services and programs in the domestic violence sector.

·         Brenda’s House, in partnership with the Children’s Cottage Society and the Calgary Homeless Foundation, provides 14 units of transitional housing for homeless families in Calgary.

·         Gateway Place is a residential home that has been modified to provide services and support to non-criminally responsible mental health clients.  The service is operated by mental health professionals of Alberta Health Services.


International-based Charitable Health Care Projects:

The Brenda Strafford Foundation owns and supports a wide range of health care services in the Caribbean.

·         The Institut Brenda Strafford in Les Cayes, Haiti is an active treatment hospital specializing in Ophthalmology and Ear, Nose and Throat services. The Institut sees approximately 4000 patients per month.  The Institut has been providing services in Haiti since 1984.

·         The Village of Hope in Montego Bay, Jamaica provides services including the Community Vision Centre for Excellence in partnership with Canadian Vision Care, and a 22-bed hospice for HIV, cancer and other palliative patients.

·         The Brenda Strafford Eye Centre in Dominica, provides Ophthalmology services. Additionally, four primary care medical clinics in Dominica enhance access to important health promotion and disease prevention services.

o   Adult Day Support serving 500 Calgarian clients in wellness and dementia programs; 

Adult Day Programs are designed for adults over the age of 18 who may have physical and/or memory challenges or are living with a chronic illness. Individuals living in the community have access to our Adult Day Programs, designed to alleviate loneliness and isolation while promoting a healthy active lifestyle. They play a key role in allowing people to remain living in the community as long as possible by optimizing their level of physical, spiritual, social, and emotional function. Adult Day Programs also provide respite and education for caregivers.

o   KINDD (Kindness, Independence and Nurturing for the Developmentally Disabled) program;

A special program within a continuing care facility providing a home, specialized care, programs and peace of mind to aging adults who are living with a developmental disability. Residents of this specialized program live in a secure location, with their own private room, a common area for socializing, enhanced recreation programs plus social work and physician support. Care plans and activities are designed to meet the individual’s needs.

o   Music and Memory;

Millions of aging Americans living in long-term care facilities face cognitive and physical difficulties and have left behind their familiar surroundings, familiar faces, and even their favorite music. Despite the best efforts of loved ones, their lives often lack meaning, spontaneity, choice, and reliable social interaction.

But there’s reason to hope for a better life as we age. MUSIC & MEMORY®, helps people in nursing homes and other care organizations who suffer from a wide range of cognitive and physical challenges to find renewed meaning and connection in their lives through the gift of personalized music.

o   Dementia Friendly Communities;

To mobilize the community to recognize the needs of those affected by dementia, and to build and improve supports for a Dementia Friendly Community, to ultimately improve the lives of individuals living with dementia and their caregivers.

o   Virtual Reality; 

Residents residing in residential care experience mobility, physical and or memory issues which prevent them from engaging in activities such as travel. The Virtual Reality experience can take our residents anywhere they choose – from Rome to the Maldives – stimulating their capacity for engagement through association linked to high quality virtual reality experiences. Imagine being able to re-ignite and re-live past experiences, as well as introduce new ones through the incredibly unique, and fully immersed VR technology experience.

o  Continuing Care Unit of the Future “Opening June 2020

This project will involve creating a dedicated space within continuing care that will be conducive to enhancing care processes and services, identifying areas and opportunities for improvement. The project entails creating an environment in which researchers and experts can test and trial new ideas, prototypes, technology, products and care delivery models.

It is envisioned that the Continuing Care Unit of the Future will provide advancement in service delivery models, resident-based research, environment and design, technology, clinical trials and interdisciplinary collaboration.  An essential part of this project is to create a network of researchers, students from multiple disciplines, and industry partners that will collaboratively work together to address the complex challenges in the healthcare system and enhance the care elders receive. Conducting this leading edge research in the context of a working care facility will provide valuable in-situ, real-world testing to help ensure the relevance of ideas and solutions.


Fundraising Campaigns

Therapeutic Drumming Circles for Seniors

In 2018, The Brenda Strafford Foundation embarked on a pilot project bringing therapeutic drumming to our senior residents in long-term care. The pilot took place at Clifton Manor, our most culturally diverse and age-diverse community in Calgary. With funding from the Kinsmen Club of Stampede City, we purchased 30 drums and provided training for our recreation therapists to be registered facilitators of the program.

The pilot project was a huge success. Resident’s love the opportunity to participate in this music therapy. Each having a unique therapeutic experience.

With our pilot project ending, we are excited to be moving into our second phase of the project. Offering drumming to over 1000 seniors living in our communities in Calgary and Okotoks.

Going Places Bus Campaign

‘Going Places’ is about the experience! The Brenda Strafford Foundation is raising money for an accessible bus to facilitate recreational outings in the local community, going places that create life-enriching experiences to enable our senior residents to live life to the fullest. Make these experiences come to life by donating to our ‘Going Places’ Bus Campaign! Pick up a campaign donation card from recreation or reception to donate by cash or cheque.


Home Sweet Home, Dementia Environment Improvement Campaign 

You can make a difference and help us to enrich the lives of our residents living with dementia by making a financial contribution, donating an item on our wish list, or volunteering to help us to enhance the ‘home-like’ environment in our Nottingham neighborhood!


Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteers are required for a variety of experiences including:

Outings Assistant – special occasions, local events, shopping and more
Entertainment – do you enjoy playing music, singing, dancing? Volunteers who like to share these experiences are welcome!
Special Occasions – help celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, special holidays (Christmas, Easter)
Gardening (spring and summer)
Pet Therapy
One-on-One Visiting – reading, conversation
Companionship and friendship

Are you a Calgary Foundation Fundholder?

Contact Info

Derek Bechthold

Fund Development Manager



More Info

Charity Number: #105198873RR0001

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