Hi , I’m Arda Kardjian. There are many ways to tell the story of Verona Court. We could begin in 2003 when my husband, Tarek, and I opened Verona Court I, our first residential care home.
Where we should really begin is in Jerusalem, 1985. My parents, Mary and Nazar, had been living in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City for over seventy years. As they reached old age, the lack of social programs and the continuing emigration of the Armenian community meant that there were few options for how they could live out their final years autonomously and with financial security. Tarek and I were newly married and, though struggling financially to start a family together in Yonkers, New York, we decided to move my parents in with us. We had the privilege then of managing to make things work in a house, eventually, of seven. And that was in very large part thanks to my parents’ altruistic commitment to helping raise our three children (Stefan, 28; Alexander, 26; Jasmine 22). But while my parents were able to contribute so much to our home, their strength and resilience, won over a lifetime living in a city whose persistent spirit is thousands of years old, could only last so long.
It mostly began with my father’s diminishing vitality. He was a man with great pride in his self-reliance. He refused to relax from contributing to the household even into his late eighties, sorting recycling or using all of his strength to get the mail every day. He lived to ninety-nine and a half, but it was in many ways those final fifteen years that demanded the most from us as his spirit pushed on but his body could not keep up.I have been a Registered Nurse for almost thirty years. That experience gave me the confidence to provide expert medical care for my father, but it did not prepare me for the emotional challenge of holding him when he could not bear his own weight or taking him to the hospital after a fall because autonomy and freedom mean that a person can try to go for a walk when no one is around if he chooses. I watched my mother feed and bathe my father without ever making a single complaint, and I gathered strength from her dignity of spirit.
So, yes, in 2003 Tarek and I began Verona Court Residential Care. My father was ninety-three. We already had many years behind us of helping him live with as much autonomy as possible in our own home and would continue to have another six years with him while we lay the foundation for everything that Verona Court and Parentis Health are today. Throughout those years it was the experiences that Tarek and I had with my father that directed our care of the mothers and fathers who lived in Verona Court. I could not help but see Nazar in each of our residents and to feel the heartfelt need to have them well-cared for without compromising their independence. The residential care “business” was deeply personal for us, not just some business. And we cherished concepts like “dignity,” “wellness” and “holistic care” long before they were catchwords on every corner drug store window.
So, you see, Verona Court may have begun in 2003, but the spirit of our companies was born long ago in Jerusalem when my father and mother became the kind of people who would model self-sacrifice in caring for our family. And it was born in Tarek’s and my home long before we realized we could give to others the kind of care we had learned to provide my parents. And now that we can finally offer home care to parents and loved ones in need throughout Orange County, we can continue to prove that dignified, holistic and continuous care are not mere catchwords. We can continue to prove that you can entrust your loved ones to this company with the confidence they will be taken care of in a personal and intimate way. And while I know it’s hokey, if you’ve managed to read all this you may understand that we mean it when we say, “Welcome to our family.”
Arda Kardjian, RN, BSN, Founder