Officials from the newly opened Santa Clarita senior living community Oakmont of Valencia are encouraging anyone in need of memory care resources to come talk to them.
During an open house event following the community’s grand opening on July 11, Mary Dembkowski of Oakmont of Valencia met a woman and her husband, who had recently been diagnosed with dementia.
“They’re panicked, they have no idea what’s down the road and they just wanted to talk to someone. They just wanted to sit down and share their feelings and, ‘What do we do?’” Dembkowski said.
Dembkowski was able to meet with the couple privately to talk about their unique circumstances.
“I was able to spend time with them privately and just talk with them and put their fears at ease, that, yes, this is a scary disease, but there are resources out there. Not only Oakmont, but there are other resources,” Dembkowski said. “So we always try to be a resource to our families.”
Something Dembkowski recommended to the couple was considering what kind of memory care they envisioned down the line, and if Oakmont of Valencia’s memory care program seemed like a good fit, putting their name on the waitlist early.
“If you feel that, after seeing Oakmont, down the road this is a place that you feel you would want your loved one to be, then do think about getting on that waitlist, because when the time comes, you hope to be at the top of that waitlist,” Dembkowski said.
A primary goal of opening Oakmont of Valencia was to meet the growing need for memory care by having a heavier focus on this program versus assisted living, as its sister community, Oakmont of Santa Clarita, has the opposite.
“What was happening with the Oakmont of Santa Clarita … is that (the memory care program) was full. It had a waitlist, and if someone is in need of a (memory care) community, usually when they’re looking it’s more of an urgent need than assisted living,” Dembkowski said.
She continued, “We wanted to be able to meet the needs of the community, so that’s why when we were talking about building the second Oakmont that we really felt that we needed to do a little bit larger memory care, so that we can be able to accommodate the families that need that.”
Referring back to the couple she met with during the open house, Dembkowski noted that her primary goal was “just being there for them,” and encouraged anyone in a similar situation to reach out.
“We’re experienced, we have the resources,” she said. “So we encourage people just to come talk to us. Come see the community.”