Family Matters - Autumn Leaves

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Family Matters

Multi-generation family standing with dog at parkFamily is everything to most of us, so we take great pride in our small collection of family-owned senior living communities that continues to deliver on the promise of kindness, care, and personal attention for over two decades. As the saying goes, “family matters.” Never is that more true than in a loved one’s time of need. 

Balancing the emotional, physical, and financial needs of a person who is dealing with significant brain changes can be draining for the entire family. We know the feeling all too well; that’s why our family developed the idea that would grow into Autumn Leaves over 20 years ago when we were searching for specialized care and discovered an unmet need for quality memory care in the senior living landscape.  

Too often, memory care residents are relegated to a small locked hall in a large, non-descript multi-floor facility that feels cold and clinical. We sought to change this by providing a safe and comfortable residence with all the comforts and amenities of home, specifically designed for people with memory impairment. Walking through our front door feels like walking into a warm and inviting living room with comfortable couches and a piano where a family often gathers in celebration. And just like home, our residents are free to wander and explore to their heart’s content. The free range includes unlimited access to outdoor areas where they can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or sneak in a relaxing nap in the warm afternoon sun. We never want them to feel locked in their own home.   

As a family-owned memory care provider for over 20 years, we understand the challenges and stresses that come with caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. And making the decision for full-time care is by far the toughest, most complex decision a family caregiver may make on the long dementia journey. You feel guilt for not being able to do it all yourself. You may even feel like you have failed or given up by choosing to place your loved one in a full-time care community. Or you may even be worried that your loved one will feel you are abandoning them and sending them to live in a strange place. But consider this: it takes THREE full shifts of multiple caregivers, managers, and operators to do what you were doing all by yourself. So take solace in knowing you are a superhero for doing it all on your own for so long! Even superheroes need to rest.  

It’s understandable that no one can care for them like you, but a family-owned community is an ideal alternative for so many reasons. You want individualized care in a home-like setting, but you also want all the modern amenities and services that come from a large senior living community. When you become part of our Autumn Leaves family, you get the best of both worlds. Unlike larger facilities that may be focused on efficiency and cost-cutting, we take the time to get to know each resident as well as their family. There is a sense of community and family that is undeniable when you walk through our front door. Learning who our residents were then and who they are now helps us provide individualized care, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. 

Another plus is that a memory care community exists exclusively for this purpose. Memory care staff are specially trained in this area of expertise and for many, this is their calling. You never planned to be a caregiver, and you did the very best you could with the resources you had. You might even feel guilty for going back to a “normal” way of life. The Autumn Leaves family understands dementia fundamentally changes your life forever – there is no “normal” after a diagnosis. 

When you were the sole caregiver, your primary goal was to give your loved one a good life where they were loved and well cared for around the clock, so why wouldn’t you wish the same for yourself? They would certainly want the same for you if the roles were reversed. You both deserve happiness. “Not everyone is born to be a professional athlete, surgeon, or middle-school teacher. Similarly, not everyone is suited to be a full-time care partner,” says Polly Logan, a Personalized Approach to Care (PAC) certified caregiver. “It is okay to recognize that you may not be meant for helping in this manner, whatever the reason, and to let it go. There are many other ways for you to stay involved in your loved one’s life than by providing all of their direct care yourself.” 

Our residents are like family to us, and we strive to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere where they can feel right at home and equally important, a space that is cognitively stimulating and gives them daily opportunities for socialization and interaction with others in a safe and comfortable environment.  

In addition, our focus on person-centered care means that we place a strong emphasis on maintaining each resident’s dignity and independence. We understand that people with dementia may have difficulty with certain tasks and activities, but we believe that everyone has the right to live with dignity and autonomy. This is not always the reality in a larger senior living setting. Our team members are specially trained in dementia care to provide support and assistance in a way that respects each person’s individuality and capabilities based on where they are in their dementia journey. Choosing a family-owned memory care community that focuses on person-centered care can provide a rare range of benefits not likely found in a larger senior living facility. We are more flexible and responsive to both the resident and family’s needs since we are not bound by the red tape that you may find in a community that is part of a larger network.  

And last, but certainly not least, we are embarking on this journey together. We say it often because it is true; when you become part of our family, we are with you for life. Yes, we are here to be your support on the dementia journey, but it is not uncommon for residents’ families to stay involved at Autumn Leaves long after their loved ones have transitioned. Expect to form special bonds and relationships with our team members that will help foster a sense of trust and familiarity with all those who belong to your loved one. You will always have a direct line to anyone in our community, no matter if it is 10 in the morning or 10 at night. Peace of mind is priceless and we are proud to offer such a unique and intimate experience for our residents and their families.  

From personalized care and a sense of community to our commitment to maintaining resident dignity and independence, we believe that our approach truly sets us apart and makes us the best choice for those looking for high-quality care for their loved ones with dementia. 

Autumn Leaves is a Registered Trademark of J&M Family Management, LLC.
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