Karen Donnelly's background is not only full of experience as a memory care director, but experience as a person dealing with the struggles of a loved one with dementia.
"I come not only from a background of experience in doing this for 12 years, I come from a background of having it in my own personal life," Donnelly explained. "I went on the journey myself, educated on it and that's why I have the passion to do what I do. And I can relate to residents and their families. So I'm able to help them in a way that a lot of people aren't because they don't know the other side of it," she said.
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Donnelly will treat residents and their families with respect, and go about helping them with care and great ease.
"I have some really good suggestions on making their lives easier and not so stressful. Like one of my common things I say to them is go along the waves - go with it - don't go against it," she said.
Donnelly has spent 12 years in the memory care arena, helping families and learning about their lives along the way. She's a dementia care practitioner and a CNA. She's also licensed to run a senior living facility.
"With my experience - I'm going to share with my team," she said. "So I'm very excited to work with people from the beginning, to teach things the correct way from the beginning to work with people with dementia. I'm at a benefit of having that."
She explained how she's excited to get Starling's 'Starlight' concept off the ground. 'Starlight' is the senior living company's memory care program, designed to provide the best possible care.
Donnelly simply can't wait to get started at The Grove at Trelago.
"I chose this to work with Gus [Astorga], the executive director, because I liked what he said and I believe in him and I believe in the staff he's created. He's made a really super strong team, not only educated-wise, but passionate," she said.