By: Ali Elizabeth Turner When Joe Jasmon, CEO of Shepherd Living at the Range, was 16 years old, his grandma was put in what can only be described as an old-style “nursing home.” It was not a pleasant experience for anyone, his grandma or his family, and as he puts it, “It was a horrible situation.” He could not have known at the time that his family’s difficult experience would set in motion what would eventually become his calling: to develop the type of senior care and carefully designed community system that is the premise of what will be North Alabama’s brand-new Shepherd Living at the Range on County Line Road. Shepherd Living at the Range, which from here on out I will refer to as The Range, came out of Joe’s 30+ years of experience in the hospitality industry, as well as the health care industry. He was a resident manager for several Hyatt Hotels, and he also worked for Quorum Health Resources. The blend of both backgrounds caused Joe to see a huge need for senior care that was designed to be empowering to the residents as well as their families. Eventually Joe was in charge of over 40 such communities in Texas, pioneering a change in senior care philosophy that he wished his grandma could have experienced when she was battling dementia. Two years ago, Joe, Christine Menedis, and Naveen Trehan developed the “Shepherd Living Concept,” and their soon-to-be-completed local community is in a beautiful setting at 10801 and 10803 County Line Road in Madison. It will be opening in January, and if the number of serious inquiries and tours that occurred while I was at their construction trailer is any indication of their success elsewhere, I expect it will fill up soon. When Shepherd began to see their dream materialize, there was one non-negotiable thing that served as their “why”-- the residents had to be empowered to live vibrant, autonomous lives in the midst of a carefully designed community. That same commitment held fast for those who were also in the Memory Care portion of this wonderful “small town for seniors.” Joe says it this way when it comes to meeting the needs and desires of the residents, “The answer is yes.” What he means is that his staff is trained to function almost like a concierge in a hotel. They will find a way to make “it” happen, as long as it is not immoral, illegal or dangerous! So, what is the walk-out of that kind of commitment to your residents? Amenities that are no more than 20 steps away; high-staffing ratios to ensure extraordinary resident care; an attractive single-story community that boasts smart phone capabilities to lock doors, receive messages, and turn on lights; a restaurant that is open to the public; a spa and wellness center that friends can join; diverse wellness classes; state-of-the-art physical therapy; and more. There are medical professionals, a trained chef, meals are when you decide you are hungry, and an endless list of possible activities. The “Shepherd Approach” asks this question: “How do we do it? Simple. We offer it all and allow you to craft your perfect day.” I told Joe about my parents’ mostly positive experience in a similar type of senior community in the Pacific Northwest, and asked him about The Range’s policy with regard to visiting adult kids or grandkids. At my parents’ residence, no one could come and visit for more than 30 days, so there was no chance for a memorable “summer at Grandma and Grandpa’s.” At The Range, those kinds of restrictions don’t exist. If an adult child suddenly becomes a single parent and needs a place to land while they get back on their feet, that is something that can be accommodated with the staff ready to assist. Dogs are welcome; in fact, the name Shepherd comes from the understanding that canine therapy is powerful for seniors and their families. We finished our time with Joe telling me an utterly heartwarming story of Shepherd’s strong serving presence in Port Orange, Florida, prior to, during and after Hurricane Irma. They cared for over 250 individuals which included their residents and staff, family members of both the residents and staff and many members of the community who were displaced, and kept them for days. A doctor called prior to Irma making landfall and transferred a patient who needed special care because the Shepherd community was designed to withstand Cat-4 level winds. They were a skillfully prepared self-contained community that reached out like neighbors to those in need, and they did it well because of the caliber of their staff, as well as the resulting commitment to their residents. If this is the kind of place you are looking for, either for yourself or your loved ones, then call 877-GO-MADISON (466-2347) today to make an appointment for a tour. Remember, Shepherd is more than a home. It’s a way of life. By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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