Life in Hill Country Village Article


Life in Hill Country Village

June 2016

“A Different Way to Finish the Book”

by Valerie Taylor

Few challenges impacts such a broad swipe of our lives as does the inevitability of aging. This is particularly evident as we watch our parents’ age. This is a process that impacts siblings, our kids, our time, our mental health, our finances, our physical health, our priorities and the list goes on. For centuries families and even societies were focused on caring for the aging. In our country the elderly were respected while at the same time we moved further from our birth home, working at jobs that were further from home. We then built nursing homes and assisted living super centers that allowed us to feel better about caring for our older adults. This was not the way Valerie Taylor envisioned the “book should end”.

This encouraged her to start South Texas Alternative Choice back in 2005. Valerie’s vision began with her 30+ years as an RN, BSN many of those working with older adults. Mix in a dose of respect from her 7 years in the Air Force and top it off with a Texas size heart and you have South Texas Alternative Choice. The vision was to create a better option to long term nursing homes and expensive assisted living centers. Valerie has been a missionary introducing quality Residential Assisted Living Homes that are personalized not only as a viable option but in many cases the BEST option. Residential care homes offer a wonderful contrast that goes against the norm that you find in traditional facility living. With a smaller environment, your loved one receives the attention they require. There are other differences, for example, rather than being served meals that lack culinary finesse in a dining hall, you can enjoy home cooked meals seasoned and made with love. Rather than sleeping in a standardized hospital bed with a roommate, they sleep in their own bedroom. Learning the names of over 20 care givers can be daunting for the older adult. In a smaller environment, consistency is offered which allows the resident to learn the names of the family members they live with. From Valerie’s perspective these second families make all the difference in the world.

Some of the advantages of a smaller Assisted Living and Personal Care Home:
• The homes are resident centered i.e. focus is on the resident not the task;
• Residents experience less confusion as they bond with stable staff;
• Staff are alert to changes in behavior and vitals are monitored;
• Staff to resident ratio is smaller allowing for needed 1:1 attention;
• Appetite is improved by preparing the resident’s favorite home cooked meals;
• Medications are managed and given in a timely manner;
• In home physician, hospice, rehabilitation or home health services available, no hours of waiting in the doctor’s office for appointments.
• Bathroom/pull-up change schedule
• Decreased bed-sore risk due to turn/movement/change schedule

As a geriatric nurse, her vision is much more than just finding the best place for an aging parent. Valerie is focused on the whole process of walking down a road that is truly less traveled with the families. Her strength lies in her knowledge of dementia care and caregiver education including geriatric syndromes i.e. falls, medication, emphasis on education, looking at the physical, emotional, and social needs of these individuals we hold dear. She is available for consultation and assessment to determine best choices for your loved one.

Watching our parents age can be extremely challenging but it can also be a beautiful time to watch them age while surrounded by loving and caring people in addition to their kids. If you know someone in a similar situation very few things will be as valuable as spending some time with Valerie Taylor while you learn about all the meaningful possible ways to finish the book.

For more information contact Valerie at 210-239-1167 or email her at