Placing a loved one in a care facility can be one of the most difficult decisions a family has to make. This is even more true when the loved one is suffering from an illness that affects their memory, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Moving them from the home they know and love to a new environment can prove to be challenging.
Avalon Memory Care in Edinburg is working to help solve this problem for the community. They are focused on providing quality care in a comfortable living environment that truly feels like a home. Maurice and Rita McDonald became partners of Avalon Memory care and opened their new facility in Edinburg in 2019. They currently have five residents with rooms for up to 22.
The couple’s medical background helps them to provide the residents of Avalon with the individualized care they need to stay active and healthy. Maurice holds a doctorate in physical therapy and has practiced for 27 years. Rita is a licensed nurse who has practiced for 40 years. In addition to the Avalon Medical Care facility, the couple also owns the Laredo Autism Center, Mission Autism Center and South Texas Primary Healthcare Services. They have also successfully operated Optimum Therapy and Criterion Health Care, which were sold.
Creating something better
Richard Seib and Dr. Dan Griffin began Avalon Memory Care in Plano, Texas in 1995. Seib was a part of a church ministry that visited the elderly in their community. As he was visiting nursing homes, he recognized how ill equipped these facilities were to take care of patients suffering from declining dementia and Alzheimer’s. He knew they needed to focus on more than just the medical needs of the patients. He wanted to ensure they have a better overall well being and quality of life. Avalon Memory Care was founded, and today there are over 30 locations across Texas and Missouri.
The Avalon Memory Care brand focuses on overall quality of life for their residents with an individualized, flexible and compassionate care system. Their goal is to support their patients and help them maintain their self-esteem and dignity while providing daily joys and happiness.
In addition to the residents’ medical needs, Maurice says, “The most important things to provide for people suffering from a memory illness are love, mobility and food and hydration.”
The comforts of home
The biggest difference you’ll notice when you first drive up to Avalon is that it truly looks like a home. It is built to make sure the residents feel as though they are living in a home rather than a traditional healthcare facility. Additionally, the home is in an area that is central, making it more convenient for family to visit more often.
They want the patients to feel like they are in a loving and safe environment. “We want them to feel completely comfortable here. We want this place to become their home,” said Maurice about the facility.
Although individual families furnish the rooms, they feature many homey aspects while still ensuring resident safety. The rooms, as well as the entire facility, feature details such as crown moldings, warm paint tones and wood plank flooring. Each room has antimicrobial floors and walls, and has rounded corners on all of the wall edges. Handicap equipped showers ensure safety for each resident.
The facility includes a state-of-the-art kitchen built in a style that is very reminiscent of a home kitchen. They also have an in-house chef who prepares home-style meals for the residents. Additionally, it has a secure outdoor patio for residents who prefer the outdoors and want a bit of fresh air.
In addition to the material comforts, the staff also works to provide physical and emotional comforts as well. They have a calendar of activities that include dancing, games, memory exercises and so much more. The McDonalds have also worked to ensure that they have a staff that genuinely loves and cares for their residents. “I always say that you just have to love them, and if that doesn’t work, love them some more. If that still doesn’t work, love them again,” said Maurice.
A growing concern
In taking a look at the numbers, Alzheimer’s continues to grow and become more of an impact on our society. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. There is currently no cure or medication that treats the root cause of the disease. More than 3.5 million people in the United States currently suffer from Alzheimer’s. That number is predicted to grow to 11-15 million people by 2050.
In order to grow with those numbers, the McDonalds have plans to expand their facility to three homes, which will ultimately hold 66 residents. Maurice also plans to begin a podcast in order to educate the community further on the growing concern of Alzheimer’s as well as the care options available.