In November of 2013, Millennium Memory Care (MMC) began construction of a new memory care residence in Monroe, New Jersey for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Now the business has grown to include 3 additional locations and the management is pleased to be celebrating the company’s 5th anniversary.
Since inception, MMC had a decidedly different approach to memory care. The Monroe location opened with just 16 private bedrooms, an unusual and bold move on the part of the owners in an industry that is dominated by large facilities with high turnover rates. But director Galina Markovich, an Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP) and Registered Nurse (RN), with extensive experience in the care of Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients, saw a need for a more intimate and personal level of care. Ms. Markovich understood the value of providing personally tailored care with a high caregiver to resident ratio, something that the large hotel-like brand names could not offer.
“Breaking into the space was difficult,” recalls Markovich, “because the big facilities had familiar brand names, multiple locations, waiting lists and plenty of money to spend on advertising and promotion. But we were determined to prove that our model could offer a higher level of care than was commonly available.”
After a year or so with the usual challenges of a start-up enterprise, the team began to see proof of concept. Family members were pleased with the care their loved ones were receiving, and many patients showed signs of substantial improvement; not a common occurrence in the world of memory care. The management began to consider expansion and began searching for potential locations.
Rather than build new locations, the company found a group of homes whose owner was interested in scaling down and was willing to sell two of her smaller facilities. That suited the MMC model nicely, and the company signed a deal to purchase a location in Matawan and another in Ocean.
Of course there were transitional issues as new management and care methods were put into action, but the two homes quickly benefitted from the MMC methods and Markovich and team were now managing three facilities for a total of about 48 rooms. By the following year, that number would grow to four locations with 64 residents. Even so, that was still much smaller than many big providers who may have hundreds of beds in a single facility. The small residence model was working and the company was thriving, but Ms. Markovich began to notice a problem in the field as a whole.
“When I first started MMC,” says Markovich, “I thought that it was simply going to be a home for residents who need typical memory care. But I soon realized that there were a lot of challenging cases out there who would benefit from exactly the type of care we prove. That is when I made the decision to start taking those residents into our facilities. With our homelike communities providing an alternative to nursing homes, a nurse practitioner overseeing each location, high caregiver to resident ratios, and a trained staff to take care of residents with different levels of dementia, we are able to prevent many unnecessary psychiatric hospitalizations.”
To fill the void in available care for challenging cases, in December of 2016, MMC opened the doors of its newest residential care facility in Holmdel, New Jersey. This latest residence holds a unique position in New Jersey by specializing in cases that are typically rejected by most other facilities.
One family member who brought her loved one to MMC offered this testimonial:
“Alice (not her real name) was violent and could not interact with other residents. Now she is totally under control and much more sociable. Galina and the professionals at MMC will go to the ends of the earth to address a patient’s needs and communicate with the family.”
Director Markovich believes that the main ingredients of MMC’s formula for success are her extensive experience in dementia care and therapeutic home environments, the custom tailored holistic approach, and her expert, compassionate staff.
“We may not be able to cure the disease,” she says, “but we can significantly improve the quality of the daily lives of our residents.”
Now, five years into a successful new type of memory care, MMC is looking forward to many more years of providing their unique style of care to those who need it most.