SAN ANTONIO — For caregivers of those with dementia, finding the right kind of care can be a foreboding process. We met two families who said unlocking the part of their loved one that gives them joy is absolutely a must.
A dementia care and education community called Bella Groves has only been open in Bulverde for a short period of time. But for the families of the residents who live there, the type of care they are given, they say, has been a life saver.
"She was living at home with support. And then we moved her to an assisted living. It didn't work out so well," said Debbie Wiegand, whose mother, Jeanette Luensmann, was the first resident to move into the facility about six months ago.
Working in senior living in long-term care herself, she knew trust was important. Wiegand told us, "I wanted my mom to be really recognized and supported for the full person that she is. And the more they talked about that, they really asked all the right questions."
"She's actually been at three other places. She was at another place...for several years and it was a lovely place, but she just needed more care and more attention," said Kathleen Smith who is talking about her mother-in-law, Thelma, who moved into Bella Groves this past August.
Smith added, "We just felt like she wasn't getting quite the attention that she needed, and it was lonely. It was lonely because she wasn't really able to get involved in all the activities and things that were going on. So this has been a wonderful place to bring her."
James Lee, one of the owners and the CEO of Bella Groves told us, "We're trying to dispel some fears and misconceptions about what dementia is. And I think that's the start of what makes us different."
Lee said they focus on the joy of life, and recognize that each patient is still a whole person. Something he said should be the standard of care when it comes to dementia.
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