Alzheimer's & Dementia Care Facility Chairman Message
Alzheimer’s Care Facility in Vista, San Diego County
Vista Gardens Memory Care
LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN – Harry C. Crowell
I have been in the building business for nearly sixty years. Most of my work has been in homebuilding and it is still a rewarding day when someone walks up to me and says they bought one of my homes some time ago. Now, I even have people come up to me and say they were born while the family lived in one of our homes. I have also built many apartments, office buildings, shopping centers and industrial centers, but nothing has affected me like this new venture into creating a home for those affected by the rigors of Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and related diseases.
I was fortunate to have met Mr. Jim McAleer, President of the Orange County Alzheimer’s Association, about five years ago and he began to get me involved in Board activities. Soon I was invited to be the Co-Chair of a Memory Walk. At the walk, I bumped into a long time friend, Merrill Butler, who recognized me, my wife and grown children. I had no idea that Merrill was affected with Alzheimer’s until later when his wife, Barbara, told me he had been diagnosed nearly a year before and I was the first person Merrill had recognized for six months.
I rekindled my relationship with Merrill for he was not only a friend but was a great builder and a past President of the National Association of Homebuilders, (NAHB) and had delivered many new homes in Southern California. Merrill served as the Grand Marshall of the following Memory Walk. His improvements, when he was given time with friends and something to do again as a leader, enriched his life and provided some interesting education for me.
Shortly after this my nephew, Don Crowell Jr., came to me with this property and a building that was partially built. At this point I was already immersed in Alzheimer’s functions. After some discussion with Jim McAleer, we began work in earnest in redesigning the building to become a state of the art facility to care for those affected with Dementia and Alzheimer’s issues. Jim was instrumental in bringing some of the most qualified doctors, management personnel, facilitators, hospice, suppliers and many others involved in Dementia programs to assist us in our design of the facility and operations. We all knew the patient is not the only one affected but it involves the entire family. Our goal has been to design a community to care for both, in a way that brings the family together, and the resident to a place where there are activities to meet his or her individual needs. We set out to provide each patient a quality home with nice, well trained personnel and a pleasant family atmosphere to enjoy.
Soon after this time, Jim McAleer introduced me to Dr. Jacque DuPont, an expert in Gerontology, who has become our most knowledgeable person on our team for this great project. Another member of our team is Joe Balbas, a long time friend and builder who has spent many years working on medical facilities. Joe worked with our architects to be sure our building met the highest standards. And we believe we have done just that. Our architect is world renowned M.J. Knitter, whose father-in-law had been admitted to a similar facility just a few months before we began work in earnest on our plans, and his experiences were extremely valuable in creating our fine facility.
VISTA GARDENS is designed to address as many issues as possible for the Alzheimer’s/Dementia patient in order to help the family and resident to be comfortable and happy. Our property encompasses over four acres and that leaves plenty of room for some great outdoor living. We include a nice walking trail throughout the tree covered garden area, a good size putting green for all of us golfers to enjoy and retain our past skills, and a garden area for our residents to sit comfortably on a raised planter while growing our favorite fruit, vegetable or flowers. We have included a children’s play area for our residents to have family visits or to just sit and watch kids at play. There are trellis covered seating areas to just sit and enjoy being outside in our beautiful Southern California weather.
In another area we have a covered Railroad Observation seating place to watch the train as it silently glides along adjacent to VISTA GARDENS. Perhaps, great places to have our community dog sit alongside to enjoy the view as well.
Inside we have a library for card games, computer stations, TV, reading, just plain visiting with new friends or family. The PUB is across the hall for exercise, cards, games, big-screen tv's for sporting events, and even an open refreshment bar.
We have included a special kitchen for those inclined to do a little fancy or plain cooking to keep in practice. Our main kitchen will have qualified people to assist in these endeavors.
Last month, I was fortunate to have been able to meet Mrs. Nancy Reagan and she gave me permission, along with several Board Members of the Ronald Reagan Foundation, to call our library the Ronald Reagan Library in memory of our former President. I was thrilled to have been able to meet Mrs. Reagan and have a short talk about our VISTA GARDENS.
Too many additional things to describe, so I will simply invite you to come over and see for yourselves. This is a short introduction to VISTA GARDENS and I am certain you will enjoy visiting us for the first time or as a new home for a family member.
This has been a labor of love and I am so thankful life has been good to me to allow this new adventure. Please come visit our new home and see for yourselves.
Harry C. Crowell, Chairman.