Amie Marchini has been passionate about caring for older citizens since she was 19. That's when she started working as a caregiver at Park Merced, located on M Street, for two years from 1994 to 1996.
Fourteen years later, she bought the facility for $7 million, one of the largest local transactions in recent memory.
In California, 11 percent of the total population is 65 years or older, according to a 2009 U.S. Census Bureau report. In Merced County, 10 percent of the population is 65 or older, according to 2009 Census statistics.
And the new owner, who has always harbored a passion for providing care to older adults, holds quite a few plans up her sleeve for the place since she bought it a few weeks ago.
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"I have quite a few improvements in the whole physical place and the quality of the care plans and delivery of care and involvement of families," she said of the 94-room facility. "I'm only going to enhance what is already there."
The facility, which sits on five acres of land, includes a dining room, activity room, a TV room and has 36 employees. The senior citizens' ages range in their mid-80s.
She said senior citizens come to Park Merced because they have specific needs. For example, they may not be safe at home or may be a challenge to their families.
"There are two benefits: if we are making nutritious meals for them, we are preparing them. (That way they can) enjoy doing something else," she said.
In 1999, Marchini, who's from Merced but grew up in Le Grand, graduated from Sacramento State where she majored in gerontology -- or the study of aging. In 2001, she founded an in-home care company called Mission Care Management.
"I found that people were coming to me for quality caregivers," she said. "In 2001, I couldn't find any quality caregiving agencies."
From there, she expanded her caregiving empire in 2003 when she renovated and opened Mission Gardens, an assisted living facility that's home to 15 residents. Her own grandmother has been living at Mission Gardens for the past three years.
In 2007, she became certified as a care manager with the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, a nonprofit.
Marchini feels that providing elder care is her passion.
"Not only caring for the seniors but seeing the comfort and peace of mind that are provided to the family as well," she said. "For me it's a two-sided thing: not only the benefit you receive from knowing you are doing a good job by delivering the best care, but also it's rewarding to help the families who are going through such a difficult time."
For tours and information, call (209) 722-3944 or visit Park Merced Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Reporter Ameera Butt can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.