Excerpt from Larry’s book, titled “Reinventing Senior Living. The Art of Living With Purpose, Passion & Joy”
We’re Italian, and as Italians, the concept of putting our parents in any type of "facility" was culturally taboo. In any conversations I ever had with Mom and Dad, it always had been out of the question. There were only two options: have them live with us; or, if that was not possible, have our parents taken care of in their own home by a caregiver.
Those were the two options.
Dad passed away in 1995 six months after celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, at an all too young age of 72. It was quick and devastating, and, as a result, we moved Mom out of the home they had shared and into her own home seven minutes away from ours. She lived there, abiding the circumstances and on her own, until she contracted pneumonia in 2002 and was hospitalized for almost six months and intubated for close to three months. Over the next six months, she went from Florida Hospital to a rehab facility, back to her home, back to Florida Hospital, to another rehab facility, and to her home. She did that on four different round-robins until we made a decision to bring her home for good and hire a full time live-in 24/7 caregiver.
During the next twelve years, she was admitted into Hospice twice – and kicked out twice – after Hospice was economically exasperated by her longevity. It might have been a surprise to them, but not to us. It’s what we call "Tuscan Living!"
Mom finally passed away January of 2014, just shy of her 92nd birthday. Over that time, she had just three sets of caregivers who did an extraordinary job in taking care of her.
As much as private in-home caregiving had advantages, disadvantages surfaced: first, of course, is the substantial economic cost; second is the lack of social interaction and programming. At a certain point, my mother and a caregiver, regardless of how close they were personally, simply had very little left to talk about and very little left to share.
So, from time to time, I would check out the market to see if a better alternative developed. Every time I did, I was disappointed and kept Mom at home.
In 2010, for personal as well as economic reasons, I went to the market yet again to look to see if there were opportunities for me to put Mom someplace with which I felt comfortable, if not enthusiastic. Again, I just couldn’t find any place I was prepared to accept and certainly not close by.
Because of that, in trying to figure out how to balance the economic cost of keeping Mom at home, and the personal values which come from putting her someplace worthy of her, it occurred to me that if I had been unable to find a place in which I would be prepared to put my mom, the question that kept coming up was why?
So I finally asked myself the fundamental question: "What would it have to look like for me to be willing to put my own Mother in it?"
That was the seminal moment – in mid-2010 – that ultimately resulted in the conceptualization of Tuscan Gardens® as a brick and mortar real estate and business opportunity. I have been developing the concept ever since. And, as we develop, I am continuing to examine the very roots of the senior living experience we all want to create for our loved ones.