Denise Peterson-Rafuse

Executive Director

It is a privilege to represent Caregivers Nova Scotia Association as their Executive Director. All caregivers are an integral part of our communities and deserve recognition and support for their meaningful contributions.

In 2009 I was honoured that the residents of Chester/St. Margaret’s gave me the opportunity to represent them as their Member of the Legislative Assembly, (MLA). I held this position until the Spring of 2017 and from 2009 to the Fall of 2013, I was entrusted with being appointed a member of the Executive Council for the Province of Nova Scotia. I served as the Minister of Community Services, Seniors, and the Status of Women. I was grateful I was able to influence positive change in supports and programming for persons with intellectual disabilities and for seniors. I participated in expanding the Caregiver’s Benefit, restorative care, and self-managed programs.                                                                                                                                                                        

Prior to 2009, I worked in non-profit for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the Canadian Living Foundation Breakfast for Learning. I was employed in municipal government positions in HRM, Halifax County and the Town of Lunenburg. I also had an opportunity to work in the corporate world with the Premier Group of Companies. My educational background includes a diploma in Radio and Television Broadcasting and a Degree in Public Relations/Communications.

I am a caregiver and at one point for three adults at the same time with varying degrees of disabilities ranging from a stroke victim to my mom who had frontal lobe dementia.

My personal caregiving experience, employment, volunteer history, and education allows me to have the knowledge, expertise, and experience to improve and address the needs and supports for the vital work of unpaid caregivers.

Contact Denise:  Director@CaregiversNS.org  |  902.421.7390

Therese Henman-Phillips

Caregiver Support Coordinator
Capital Region

Coming from a rural community with established family roots, caregiving was part of our culture. My first experiences involved caring for my grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease. As a teenager, I was a small part of a very organized family system arranged to support her at her home.

My interest in caregiving led me to a career in social work where for almost 35 years I supported families and children. In recent years, as a working family caregiver with family responsibilities of my own, I have been impacted by my father’s diagnosis of dementia and his eventual death. My husband, also a caregiver for the past 15 years, has been supporting his extended family members who have required our assistance due to terminal illness and the challenges of aging.

The navigation of the various systems and emotions during these caregiving journeys led me to my interest in Caregivers Nova Scotia. Being a caregiver has provided me with a unique perspective and experience. I recognize both the rewards and challenges of family and friend caregiving and feel I have something to contribute to the organization.

Contact Therese: Support@CaregiversNS.org  |  902.412.7084

Catherine Parent

Caregiver Support Coordinator 
Eastern HRM Region

I am very excited to have joined the CNS team. As a member of CNS, I see the importance of the supports that are required for family and friend caregivers.

The attributes I bring include 19 years’ experience working in long-term care with young adults, as well as caring for persons with cognitive impairments.

As a caregiver and supporter of my mother who was living with breast cancer, I learned valuable life lessons. The ups and downs that caregivers experience are beyond words. This life journey will always hold fond memories and a heart full of appreciation for me.

As the Caregiver Support Coordinator for the Eastern HRM Region, I hope to bring my knowledge, and the team's knowledge, to the numerous caregivers residing in this region.

Contact Catherine: EasternHRM@CaregiversNS.org  | 902.402.0452

Maggie Roach-Ganaway

Caregiver Support Coordinator
Cape Breton Region

As a member of the CNS team, I realize the significance of the work this organization does, and I plan to continue this important work in the Cape Breton area.

I became a caregiver to my mother after she was diagnosed with Binswanger Disease, a form of vascular dementia.  Caring for her lead me to nursing and I became a Licensed Practical Nurse in 1999.  After many years of caring for the elderly in a long term care facility, my life took a different turn after my husband was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme stage 4-brain tumour.  The four years I spent as his caregiver has taught me that you need to follow your heart, which has led me to Caregivers NS.

As Support Coordinator for the Cape Breton Region, I hope to bring my experience and understanding to the many caregivers throughout the area.

Contact Maggie: CapeBreton@CaregiversNS.org   |  902.371.3883

Brenda Sangster

Caregiver Support Coordinator
Capital Region

I came to Caregivers Nova Scotia Association in July 2005 with over 25 years of work experience in Administration and Office Management. When I started with Caregivers Nova Scotia, I organized caregiver recognition events, workshops, and conferences. Now, on top of those responsibilities, I have transitioned into a Caregiver Support Coordinator role.

I have a desire to help those in need in whatever capacity I can. I have been a caregiver to my Mother for many years, and I try to bring everything I have learned and lived into my work as a Support Coordinator. I am now in a position to lend an ear and a helping hand to caregivers as they begin their caregiving journeys. I take joy in the experiences and challenges that present themselves in my work at Caregivers Nova Scotia, and my time here only reinforces my desire to help guide caregivers as best I can.

Contact Brenda:  Projects@CaregiversNS.org  |  902.421.7390

Leanne Taylor

Caregiver Support Coordinator 
Northern Region

I am very excited to join the Caregivers Nova Scotia team.  I am learning how much work this organization does to support Caregivers; I will do my best to contribute as a Caregiver Support Coordinator.

In the past and present, I have been a caregiver and continue to provide care to various family members.  I understand the valuable role caregivers play and how demanding it can be. I have personal experience as a care provider working as a CCA in a long-term care facility and most recently worked for the Senior Safety Program. I am honoured to be able to help others.

As Caregiver Support Coordinator for the Northern Region, I will continue to learn and share knowledge and will strive to be a valuable team member to Caregivers Nova Scotia.

Contact Leanne:  Northern@CaregiversNS.org  |  902.229.8464

Jenny Theriault

Operations Coordinator 

I am thrilled to be joining the team at Caregivers Nova Scotia as Operations Coordinator. I come with a background in Gerontology and have been working in the community coordinating Adult Day Programs for over 10 years.

I had the privilege of working with caregivers and care recipients’ in my previous role and saw the many impacts of caregiving on individuals' lives. I have also supported my parents from a distance as they care for my adult brother.

I am humbled by all that caregivers are doing daily for their family members and friends and I am grateful to be part of an organization that offers meaningful support to caregivers in Nova Scotia.

Contact Jenny: Operations@CaregiversNS.org | 902.421.7390

Jennine Wilson

Caregiver Support Coordinator
Valley Region (Annapolis, Kings, and West Hants counties)

I am very excited to be part of Caregivers Nova Scotia and have the opportunity to support the amazing caregivers in the Valley Region.

As the youngest in my family, and being the last at home, I cared for my mother during her open heart and colostomy surgeries. I also had the privilege of being able to return home to support my parents and be my father’s primary caregiver during his last year living with cancer. I have experienced the highs and lows of caregiving and was eternally grateful to have the support of the palliative care VON nurses which prompted me to become a palliative care VON volunteer on my return to Nova Scotia as a way to give back. I have extensive experience supporting youth, adults and their families, who live with physical, cognitive or mental health disabilities. My previous work has deepened my compassion and appreciation for the caregivers in our communities.

I do my best to lead with my heart and look forward to learning from my colleagues and the caregivers I will have the privilege to serve.

Contact Jennine Wilson: Valley@CaregiversNS.org | 902.680.8706

Board of Directors

Executive Officers:
Patricia Murray - President
Mary Elizabeth MacLellan - Vice-President
Vacant - Treasurer
Ruth deMolitor - Secretary

Members at Large:
Ned Chase
Anne Corbin
Donna Dill
Lori Anne Jones
Debra M. Murray
Crystal S. Taylor
Dr. Clotilda Yakimchuk