Finding a memory care community doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, for Janet Hershey, it was surprisingly simple: While touring facilities for her dad, Janet instantly knew when she found the right fit. With the help of A Place for Mom, Janet chose Silvergate San Marcos, where she says her dad is now thriving.
In this interview, Janet spoke with Joan Lunden about how she knew it was time for memory care, how she chose Silvergate, and how senior living activities give her dad much-needed social support. Read these highlights or watch the full, 13-minute video.
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Joan Lunden: Take us back to before your dad went into a community. What was going on? Why wasn’t the care at home cutting it?
Janet Hershey: My parents were married for 63 years, and my mom passed away. We had live-in care come in. He had that for probably a year and a half.
It just got to a point that the caregiver would go to bed and close her door, and then my dad would be up wandering the house. He would hide keys, remote controls to the TVs, and nobody could find them ever again. And then he’d sleep all the next day. I was just so worried about him, because the house had stairs; it has a pool … I just had so many concerns.
I went through the same exact thing with my mom. She could’ve opened up the door and walked out, and we hear about these stories all the time.
My sister reached out to A Place for Mom. They got back to her right away with a whole list of places to visit. I went to many places, and then I went to Silvergate in San Marcos. I just knew that was the place.
I hear that so often. That families looked and looked and looked, and then they walked in somewhere and just knew that it was right.
It was a feeling of home that I got. Silvergate is set up as a two-story building, and each level is divided into three homes with 10 residents. It’s really a small, intimate area.
Another thing that I love is the interaction with the staff and the residents. Every single staff member knows every single resident’s name. I just knew my dad would really like that.
What kind of activities do they have there, and is he participating?
Every month they send out an activity calendar to the families. I’d go two or three times a week. Probably every week, they have live music. We’d dance with all the residents. They have arts and crafts. They have exercise classes. Then, once a month, we’d go on a bus ride together. We went to the beach and had lunch.
That way they feel like they’re still part of the world. Some of that had to change during the pandemic.
I go see him and I get my temperature checked; my finger measured for oxygen. I don’t ever go into the place – I meet him in the parking lot. Every week, my sisters and I Zoom with him.
Even if he doesn’t remember, it doesn’t matter. I feel like he knows that we love him. I’m so thankful to Silvergate and to A Place for Mom, because I don’t know if I would’ve gone there without your help.
Kara Lewis is a content writer at A Place for Mom. She’s worked in writing, editing, and creative strategy for several years, most recently at Andrews McMeel Universal, Hallmark, and Gannett Media. Her writing has appeared in Bustle, Alma, and The Kansas City Star, among other outlets. She has won awards for digitally conscious journalism, investigative reporting, magazine writing, and poetry.