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Water’s Edge of Bradenton Offers Compassionate Memory Care

It was a brief moment in Paul Kivlehan’s life that shaped the way he cares for senior citizens.

“I was working at a skilled nursing facility,” said Kivlehan, who recently joined the team at Water’s Edge of Bradenton as the new Memory Care Coordinator. “I was able to take residents out for a picnic at the beach.”

Many of the residents had little opportunity for trips like this one, and one woman in particular expressed her gratitude.

“When I was helping her out of the van, she just touched my cheek and said, ‘Thank you,’” he said. “What I realized then was, it’s really the little things that make the most difference. The things we take for granted, the beach and a picnic. It wasn’t a fancy meal, but they could watch kids play and enjoy nature.” 

Six months later, the woman who thanked him that day passed away. Though he didn’t realize it at the time, Kivlehan’s trip to the beach had made a great impact on her happiness and wellbeing.

“Her family asked me to do a eulogy for her at her memorial service,” he said. “The little time I had with her, they felt it made a difference.” 

Kivlehan has taken this experience with him throughout his career. And since moving to Florida from Massachusetts in 1990, Kivlehan has built a career around caring for seniors struggling with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“Life doesn’t stop when you enter memory care,” he said. “It just has to change a little bit." 

In December, Water’s Edge of Bradenton opened a dedicated memory care unit that is now under Kivlehan’s direction.

“I’ve always had a fondness for working in memory care,” he said. “My great-grandmother raised my mom and when I was little I spent a lot of time with her. We watched Lawrence Welk and had tea and toast.” 

Eventually, his great-grandmother began showing signs of Alzheimer’s. She passed away when Kivlehan was 15.

“I could see the change in her,” he said. “She was at the stage where she was aware of it.” 

To this day, Kivlehan keeps a picture of his great-grandmother in his office to remind him of why he began working in memory care.

“I look at the picture and ask myself, ‘How would I have wanted her to be treated?’” he said. “It is important to spend time with the residents and their families and be accessible."

Learn More About Our Senior Living Community

Water’s Edge of Bradenton is located at 2015 32nd Avenue W in Bradenton, Florida. You can learn more about our senior community by visiting the Water’s Edge of Bradenton homepage.

Or if you would like to see the community in person call 877-417-4285 to schedule a tour!