We all know that assisted living centers play a vital role in caring for the elderly and the disabled, housing senior citizens, and others in need of help due to mental or physical problems. It can be a challenging endeavor for anyone looking to open and operate a full-scale assisted living facility, whether it is investing in a multi-unit property or taking in residents into one’s home. Overcoming the many obstacles such as finding the right caregivers, wading through government regulations, and maintaining just one property can be overwhelming enough, but three properties—now that requires extra ordinary strength and stamina!
The Three Tuscany Homes
That is just what Cheri Pelton of Loving Seniors, Inc. does. Pelton operates the Tuscany House in Viera, and both Tuscany Shores and Tuscany Villa in Rockledge. These three assisted living facilities to provide the love and care the residents need and deserve. “I learned everything, from the ground up so I know it is possible with patience and support,” says Pelton. Her properties were not an immediate, overnight success, but a gradual build-up of experience and fortitude combined with a passion to help seniors and a heart for others.
Most people who want to start an assisted living business usually have some connection or link to the type of clients they want to serve. It is rare, at least at a smaller level of assisted living facilities, that the business is being started for the sake of profit alone. For Pelton, her passion for helping others started at a young age. “I have always enjoyed working with seniors. My first experience was when I was a candy-striper at a local hospital in New Hampshire. That is where I learned that sometimes more is said sitting silently next to someone holding their hand than carrying on a conversation.”
For Pelton, her story of acquiring assisted living homes begin in 2011 when she moved to Brevard County. She was a new CNA when she applied for a job at a home care agency. “My first ‘client’ was a beautiful lady who lived in Cocoa Beach, a retired nurse. We immediately developed an amazing bond! I cared for her daily for approximately a year before her dementia and other health issues would not allow her to be home any longer. Her family found a beautiful assisted living facility for her to reside in, where she stayed for four years.”
While working for a home care agency, Pelton went back to school, but still kept in contact with her “favorite little lady,” Jeanne. Gradually Jeanne’s health began declining, breaking her hip in early 2016, which made her no longer a candidate for an assisted living facility. “Her family asked me to assist in finding a long-term care facility, and after looking at two of them, I decided there was no way she was going there. I put school on the back burner and prepared my home for Jeanne to live with my family until it was time for her to “go home.” Jeanne passed peacefully with me by her side on November 30, 2011.”
During Jeanne’s last days, Pelton was trying to figure out what to do next when she across two assisted living facilities for sale. “I tried my hardest to purchase these homes, however, I didn’t have enough money to make it work. In conversation with Jeanne’s daughter, Lindsey, and son-in-law T. J., I expressed what it was I was trying to do. Before I knew it, I had two business partners and two assisted living facilities and my life as I knew it was forever changed.”
On December 23, 2016, Pelton became the owner of Tuscany House and Villa. “I love my new life,” says Pelton. “Caring for seniors, (hence the name of her company, Loving Seniors, Inc.), is what I’m extremely passionate about. You have to be passionate, if you are not in it to love unconditionally then it is not a good fit.” Passion is what led Pelton to success. In 2018, she acquired Tuscany Shores, which opened in June of that year.
When asked about her greatest challenges in running three assisted living facilities, Pelton said, “The greatest challenge of this business for me is watching our residents decline.” When asked about the secret to her success, she responded, “You have to just be willing to get in there and do the same job as you expect your employees to do.” As in most things in life, the combination of hard work, dedication, and passion are the key ingredients to any worthy endeavor.