Steven with Mom at Assisted Living Community

Premium but Affordable Care for Mom. Priceless.

After Dad passed away about ten years ago, my siblings and I were concerned about Mom remaining in her small home, south of Atlanta. I lived in North Atlanta and my other siblings were in other states. Mom had always been independent and wanted to remain in her home as long as possible. We committed to stay in close contact with Mom to monitor her situation and to ensure that she was safe and well-cared for.


That worked well for a number of years, but then, despite her excellent physical health, Mom’s memory began to fade rather quickly. It was actually Mom who brought it to our attention and asked the doctor for some medication for dementia. But it was not until a little over a year ago that it became clear something had to change. She could no longer drive or cook, and we were afraid, because of her love for daily walks that she might wander off and get lost.


For more than a year my siblings and I reviewed options and visited Assisted Living and Memory Care facilities. Not only was it exhausting, but it was actually depressing. We had seen a number of places that, frankly, I was frightened and felt embarrassed to place my sweet Mom there.


The second issue was cost. We were overwhelmed by ‘sticker shock’ to say the least. We are not poor, but Mom is a widow living on my Dad’s government pension and none of us children are in a place in our lives where we have financial margin. We began to explore her moving in with my sister in Alabama or my wife and I in Canton. But by now Mom’s circumstances had escalated to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and although she did not need specialized nursing, she would require a different level of care than we could offer.


For several months, we spent weekends researching on the internet and visiting a number of locations. Some looked good online, but as difficult as it is, nothing can beat an on-sight visit to gain insights and watch the interactions of residents and staff. We did thorough research in more than 30 memory care communities. All of those that we could afford seemed to have that ‘institutional’ feel that we all felt very uncomfortable with.


One day my wife was driving down Rope Mill Road near the Outlet Mall and saw an attractive, new Assisted Living and Memory Care Community called Camellia Place. We decided to visit the next Sunday. As we sat in the parking lot we were pleasantly surprised with the architecture of six separate one level houses with large front porches, decorated with plush, outdoor furnishings. Not a single wooden rocking chair in sight! The landscape was beautiful for each home.


I will also admit that the beauty and quality of the campus caused me to be more than a bit skeptical about affordability. Nevertheless, at the urging of my wife, I reluctantly entered the front door with some measure of apprehension. I was certain by now that I would be discouraged by the outrageous cost.


Imagine how disarmed we were to be greeted by one of the two owners. Lauren Clifton, an executive level healthcare professional and certified Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Trainer/Practitioner, shared that she had built the community with her Mom in mind. Apparently, her experience had been similar to my own.


After a tour and discussion, we sat down to talk. She patiently answered all of our questions and shared some things we have never heard addressed in our search. For example, my Dad served in the Army in WWII, but no one had ever asked us or advised us about that. Therefore, we had no idea that government Aid and Assistance was available to veterans and their spouses. Lauren suggested that we take advantage of a free consultation with Nelson Eldercare to see if Mom might qualify. I was excited to share our discovery with my siblings who live out of state. As it turned out, the more than $1100 per month that Mom eventually received from the VA, plus her social security and pension, was enough to ensure her level of care at one of the finest communities we had ever seen.


The institutional feel was absent. The large, lunchroom style dining areas we had disliked in every other facility was replaced with beautifully decorated kitchens and tastefully appointed dining rooms in each of the six craftsman style houses. In November of 2016 we made the decision to move my mom into Camellia Place.


On January 28 2017, we moved our Mom into a nice suite in one of the well-designed homes at Camellia Place. Since that time, either me or my wife have dropped in to visit at least once every day. I cannot tell you how happy we all are with Mom’s care and how impressed I am with the unique model at Camellia Place. Mom is a delightful and positive person, and the attentive care, kindness and social interaction have gone well beyond our expectation. We knew she would adjust because of her positive attitude, but we were pleasantly surprised that she has not only adjusted but has thrived. She tells us often how thankful she is for Camellia Place and for all the “wonderful people she has met and now loves” that care for her.


Camellia Place has my deepest appreciation and my highest recommendation. I am confident that Mom would have deteriorated quickly had we not pushed through all of our concerns and discovered how to make this happen. If you are struggling with a similar situation, I would urge you not to dismiss Camellia Place too quickly. I am not suggesting that it is always easy, but we have found a premium level of care at a price we thought we could not afford. We were delighted to discover that we could afford the care our Mother greatly deserved. The peace of mind is priceless.


The New Face of Assisted Living

“Assisted living” is a term you hear quite often when talking about aging and senior lifestyles. It might come as a surprise to you that this concept is fairly new, having begun in the 1970’s.  Prior to that time there weren’t many options for aging seniors, and any available option tended to be cold and impersonal.

Not so today. Through the years, not only have seniors become more knowledgeable, aware and discerning, but progressive communities have adapted to offer a variety of sophisticated options that make assisted living viable and attractive. Each day, more than 10,000 turn 65-years-old. And the 21st Century face of assisted living is being redefined to be an appealing, life-giving community with many wonderful options.


Most assisted living communities today offer amenities and social activity options. Many are luring families in with ‘nice’ landscaping, ‘helpful’ staff and ‘decent’ food. Yet, even though the options have changed and the image is upgraded – the current assisted living model is letting us down. Owned by major corporations and driven by the bottom line, they cannot provide the level of care, compassion and conditions where aging residents thrive and find joy.

That is why we built Camellia Place. We are locally owned by engaged and committed healthcare leaders who set out to change the perception and break old paradigms. We are elevating expectations of assisted living and memory care and providing a quality of life that brings peace of mind. Camellia Place is the first community of its kind. Nestled in eight beautifully landscaped acres, this neighborhood is composed of six single story homes with only 16 residents in each, eliminating even the hint of institutional care.


“Adding Life To Years” is not just a phrase. It is an honest, person-centered approach to care that is deliberate and transformational. Through open communication—as well as leveraging individual strengths and choices—we enrich hearts, engage minds and increase “social capital.” This translates into happy residents who feel their personal best and look forward to each new day.

We are a community committed to delivering uncompromising, person-centered care. Our follow-thru: we have the highest staff-to-resident ratio and on-site physician and physical therapist offices. By following a model of care that’s both efficient and proactive, we’re able to anticipate the needs of our individual residents, ensuring continuous safety, dignity and comfort.


At Camellia Place, you will find a level of attention to detail only found in five-star hotels. Our attention to detail begins with safety and training, and continues through architectural design, gardens, fabrics, décor and surroundings to stimulate, not stagnate, the senses. We’ve achieved an environment that your family will be happy to visit, and you’ll be proud to call home.

We are just over one year old and have already been nationally recognized as the 2017 Senior Living Center of the Year by, and locally, we garnered the 2017 Reader’s Choice Award from TownLaker Magazine in Woodstock.


Our years of experience in the healthcare industry and our genuine passion for people have shaped our mission of healthcare and caregiving. We are an active and deliberate partner with the community, both now and in the future. Also, because we are locally owned, our owners are present, accessible, dedicated and actively engaged.


At Camellia Place, our chef prepares family-style meals which are served in each house. Our beautifully manicured green space, walking paths and abundant activities create opportunities where everyone can thrive. And we offer an active social atmosphere where the residents are happy and can develop new relationships.

For many of today’s seniors who might benefit from help with various daily activities —such as dispensing medications, traveling to appointments, meal preparation, and household chores, the move to assisted living community isn’t primarily about medical necessity.

It’s about a choice of lifestyle. It is a quality of life decision.

ADDING LIFE TO YEARS.  Your loved ones have lived enriched and full lives. Their story doesn’t stop now. The next chapter is a time to cherish family, make new friends, and embrace each day. If you are considering assisted living for yourself or someone you love, you owe it to yourself to see the new ‘face’ of assisted living. We encourage you to visit and take a no-pressure tour. If you have questions, we are eager to help you find the answers.  Click on the link below and receive a free PDF download of your helpful guide to finding the perfect home:


Common Areas in Dementia and Alzheimers Residence

Our Camellia Place Interiors: Stylish, Safe, & Intentional

Over the past month, we’ve welcomed our residents to their new homes. Six houses, not hallways, rest on the Camellia Place property, and two of our homes officially have residents enjoying our amenities. When we built Camellia Place, we worked closely with our architects, builders, and designers to create an inviting, stylish, and most of all, safe place for our residents to live. Our purposeful design choices have made our homes an ideal place for our seniors to dine, socialize, sleep, and receive care.

Design Features: Smaller residences, like those at Camellia Place, provide a sense of intimacy that sometimes lacks in large buildings with long hallways.  Each of our homes consist of only sixteen bedrooms which are divided by spacious living and dining areas. In addition to considering intimacy for our community, Camellia Place’s homes were designed with short, purposeful hallways. Knowing the dining room is only a short distance from one’s suite makes a difference in the social aspect of our homes.  Seniors can easily participate in activities, meals, and special events knowing they are never far from their bedrooms. Further, a stylish, yet safe handrail guides our residents from place to place and functions both for a design detail, and more importantly, stability. Each suite is a single-bedroom with its own heating and air conditioning for ultimate privacy and comfort. The philosophy behind this design is to encourage residents to live in the public areas of their homes while having private suites for sleeping, hygiene, and privacy for reading or watching television.


Interior Styles: Our interior designers and owners chose lovely furniture and soothing colors that highlight our homes. Additionally, having upholstery that can withstand cleaning and disinfecting is critical in the maintenance of our homes.  While many fabrics can tolerate that type of cleaning, few have the feel and look of institutional fabrics.  Our owners took extra care to select fabrics and colors with the homes in mind.  Even the height of our cushions was well-planned. The ability of Seniors to be able to safely transfer from sitting to standing supports their basic need to move be ambulatory.  Little features like this make a world of difference in seniors knowing they can come to the porches or dining rooms and be able to stand or transfer without fear.


Each of our homes also features an open-island kitchen for family-style meals to encourage socialization and friendships. Further, good nutrition and hydration are essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  With family-style meals, caregivers can easily monitor the food and liquid intake of our residents. On each of the two, 8 bedroom wings, residents will also find a library or game center complete with card tables and sofas. Porches and patios are available throughout the homes and feature gracious spaces for outdoor enjoyment and living, especially with Georgia’s warm summer nights. Our porches and courtyards have tables, chairs, and conversation groupings.  However, one thing you might notice is that we don’t have any rocking chairs; they focus one’s attention on rocking and not talking. We want to encourage conversations in our homes and equipped each home with furniture for just that.

Safety Priorities: Safety is always on the minds of our staff and caregivers at Camellia Place. We’ve incorporated design features in order to maximize safe-living for all of our residents. Each resident’s room features an integrated closet and restroom allowing for walkers and wheelchairs to enter freely. Further, dressing and bathing with articles of clothing close by aids in the daily routine of good hygiene and helps caregivers in their role of assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLS). Our bathrooms are beautifully appointed with zero threshold showers and sinks for bracing.

One thing we haven’t yet mentioned is our attention to medication management. Medication management is one of the most important aspects of assisted living.  You will not see medication carts in our hallways. Instead, medicine is housed in and dispensed from an in-home apothecary.  It provides for more privacy for residents and better watchful oversight by our staff. Additionally, one of the other things that we pride ourselves on is that our caregivers aren’t responsible for  housekeeping or food service for residents.  This allows caregivers to be extra attentive to our residents.  With more intimate watchful oversight, behaviors can be observed that might indicate changes in wellness.  Making sure residents are hydrated and eating well balanced meals helps prevent unnecessary doctor visits.

We’ve devoted countless hours to think of every detail for our residents. If you’re interested in touring Camellia Place, don’t hesitate to contact us or call 770-296-1513. We’d love to send you more information or take you on a tour.

exercise at memory care woodstock ga

Body Recall: An Exercise Program Like No Other

At Camellia Place, one of our core philosophies is “adding life to years”. We find an incredible amount of value in our residents becoming a part of our community and having enriching experiences every day. One of the valuable experiences that we are dedicated to is our Body Recall class. Held every Tuesday morning in ten week increments, Body Recall emphasizes strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. The class is lead by Nathan Brandon, our Director of Marketing and Communications, and our local Body Recall expert. Not only does Nathan teach our classes, but he is Body Recall trained and certified, “I received training as a Body Recall Instructor in January of 1986, during the week of the NASA Space Challenger disaster. We spent Sunday night through the following Saturday attending classes and receiving instruction in how the program should be taught. Then, I received recertification in January of 2013 by attending a week long recertification class,” Nathan explains.

Nathan’s expertise doesn’t end there. In fact, he leads a group that started three years ago at Cherokee County Senior Services. While it started with humble beginnings, now their enrollment has grown to an enrollment of over 100 seniors! He says, “We average 65 to 70 seniors each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for class. Since we outgrew the Senior Center,  we now meet at the Boys & Girls Club gymnasium on Univeter Road. The seniors’ commitment to the class, and to one another, has been an inspiration to me.”

Body Recall at Camellia Place














A majority of the movements in Body Recall are performed from a chair, so that safety is maintained, but seniors get to experience a little fun, too. In fact, they get great joy out of using the large, colorful parachute in class. While there are many advantages in participating, one of the main benefits is that participants have successful exercise experiences that help them remain independent as long as possible. The class also includes fall recovery training that helps them safely move to the floor from their chair, and then safely return to their seat. Most guests experience the joy of successfully completing an hour of movement leaving them invigorated and refreshed. Even more encouraging? No previous experience is required. Through the use of specific movements and the use of apparatus such as foam balls, elastic bands and wooden sticks, they experience all the benefits of full range of motion and sustained strength.

Body Recall participants














Of course, participants reap more than physical benefits. “The classes also provide meaningful social and physical activities. By the end of ten weeks, seniors have experienced mutual support and encouragement, so that they feel a part of the group,” Nathan shares. He continues, “The Body Recall program fits perfectly with the philosophy of care that exists at Camellia Place. The ability to “add life to years” for our residents is accomplished through the benefits of Body Recall. Currently, we have 17 residents of nearby communities that enjoy Body Recall each Tuesday morning at the Community House.”

For more information about the Camellia Place lifestyle, visit

new residents at camellia place

A Visit from the Queens

On a sunny spring day in April, we had the pleasure of hosting Mr. and Mrs. Queen, the previous owners of 294 Rope Mill Road (also known as Camellia Place). As it was their first time visiting the property since selling it to become the home of Camellia Place, we wanted their trip to be a special one. They were overwhelmed at the beauty of their property as well as the purpose it will serve as seniors move to our community for assisted living care. A lifelong legacy if you will. The couple told stories about how Mrs. Queen planted the black walnut trees that were used in creating the beautiful library conference table where they were seated. Interestingly, she said the power company complained that she had planted the trees under the power lines. We appreciate her leaving the trees there, regardless of what the power company had to say.

The Queens visit Camellia Place.

Later in the Queens’ visit, our founders Lauren and Denise presented the couple with unique and special ink pens. The pens were made from the same wood of the black walnut trees: the same wood that created our library table, and the same wood that the power company had words about so long ago. The pens are a part of a special collection crafted by a woodworker in North Carolina.

Camellia Place is a place of legacy. While the two black walnut trees are no longer standing, their impact on us, and on the Queens, lives on.


The Design: Organic and Natural

Such careful consideration and concern for legacy and nature would not occur to most developers. But for Camellia Place founding Partners Denise Swords and Lauren Clifton, the story of the trees that lived for more than 55 years on the property at 294 Rope Mill Road in Woodstock and the preservation of their legacy were important to the evolving story of Camellia Place.

“This is not like any other project we’ve worked on,” said Steve Sanchez, principal with HGOR, landscape architects for Camellia Place. “It is new and different because of the involvement of Lauren and Denise, versus a corporate structure. It’s very personal.”
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The Craftsman and Camellia Place: Bringing Dreams to Life

Greg Michael grew up in a woodworking family. He worked in the shop of his father and brother, but he wanted to do something different than the family business. Yet, when he and his wife were building their home, they chose to do all of the interior work themselves. And Michael rediscovered his passion for woodworking.

Today, Michael is the pastor for Woodstock Community Church on Rope Mill Road, just down the street from Camellia Place. He also founded Mi-Kin Creations, a name that stands for “Kin Folk.” Michael’s two sons, Gregory and Jonathan, also have ownership in the business and are talented craftsmen in their own right.
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The Library: Our Future is Rooted in Our Past

Two black walnut trees stood tall for more than 55 years at 294 Rope Mill Road in Woodstock. They were planted by landowner James Queen, a cabinetmaker. They not only gave shade on hot, sunny days and provided relief from a hard day’s work, but Queen also used nuts from the trees in his furniture dyes. While they may no longer be standing, the trees occupy an important place in the story of Camellia Place.
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