Minnesota Family Directly Affected by Alzheimer’s Launches Parks’ Place, a New Family-Based Community That Redefines Memory Care
Driven by their husband/father’s diagnosis of Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s, a local family partnering with Cassia (formerly Augustana Care and Elim Care) created Parks’ Place: Memory Care Redefined. Parks’ Place celebrated its opening day Sunday, October 13 at 18040 Medina Road in Plymouth.
You can learn more about Parks’ Place by viewing this story on WCCO, by watching an additional video on CCX Media or by listening to Alzheimer’s Speaks host Lori La Bey’s podcast.
When Mayo Clinic diagnosed Plymouth resident Jerry Parks, a former VP at a large Minneapolis construction company, with Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s at age 56, it provided some answers for the chaos the Parks’ family had been experiencing. It did not provide a template for what comes next.
“Every day spouses are being thrust into the new role of caregiver as they deal with the impact of this disease, but it is not every day you see the children of those affected by the disease spurred to action to change the face of memory care,” says Karen Parks, Jerry’s wife.
After the initial shock and grief that came with the Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it was Jerry who set the tone of action for his family. “We can spend our time mourning or be proactive and fight to make a difference,” his children remember him saying.
Jerry immediately participated in drug trials and cognitive research at both Mayo Clinic and the University of MN. He served on the Alzheimer’s National Advisory Board and he and Karen testified before the Social Security Administration to expedite disability benefits for those affected by the disease. They traveled to Washington DC with the MN chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association six years in a row. Their advocacy contributed to the effort that led to prioritized research funding proposed in the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), signed into law in January 2011.
When Jerry’s family began to explore long-term care communities, they began to envision a positive caregiving community where friends and relatives would be excited to visit their loved ones. With the support of spouses, relatives and friends, they leveraged their extensive Alzheimer’s network to put their passion project in motion.
“We had a vision of what we wanted our father’s care to look like,” says Jerry’s youngest daughter, "We sought to create a beautiful environment where families could enjoy time with loved ones with dementia who can, with the support of a caring community, be recognized as individuals with capabilities despite limitations.”
“This disease takes a village; we needed something different and were fortunate to find partners inspired by our story to help us create it,” added Jerry’s oldest daughter.
The Parks family purposefully acquired land near school and church neighborhood resources. They will leverage Cassia’s 200-plus years of experience in eldercare to deliver their vision. Parks’ Place will accommodate 36 residents and has been designed very specifically from the ground up, with well-organized spaces and natural light for those who want an elegant home environment with highly personalized care. In addition, a memory care program will aim to focus on abilities rather than disabilities to help residents experience success.
To learn more, visit www.parksplacememorycare.com or call 763-710-8484.
Parks’ Place: By Our Family for Your Family
Founded in 2018, Parks’ Place was created by a local family directly touched by Alzheimer’s disease. Their experience moved them to redefine memory care and create a community where families and residents can feel at home. Parks’ Place offers a meaningfully planned environment and programming that focuses on abilities rather than disabilities—and staff members who are passionate about providing highly personalized care to the people they serve.
In 2018, Augustana Care and Elim Care voluntarily joined together to form Cassia, to foster fullness of life for older adults. With more than 200 years of combined experience, the affiliation augments our service to people of all faiths by strengthening our focus on resident, patient and client care. Cassia provides independent and assisted living communities, memory care, skilled nursing care centers, short-term rehabilitation centers, adult day programs and a variety of community-based services for older adults across five states. Looking to the future, Cassia will continue providing healing, compassion and renewal to all those we serve.