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Monday, May 29, 2017
Southwest Louisiana ,
Juanita and Eddie Melton, left, residents of The Gardens, visit with facility administrator Tonya Estes. (Special to the American Press)

Juanita and Eddie Melton, left, residents of The Gardens, visit with facility administrator Tonya Estes. (Special to the American Press)

Continuum of care in a homelike environment

Last Modified: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 2:44 PM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

The Gardens and The Guardian House opened in April 2000, and it remains a family-owned and operated assisted living and skilled nursing facility in Lake Charles.

The Gardens and The Guardian House was designed by two renowned gerontologists from Monroe. The gerontologists specialize in designing care facilities that have a comfortable, home-like feel rather than those designed on a medical model. Their goal is to provide a “continuum of care” that allows their residents “age in place” as their service needs increase, said Tonya R. Estes, administrator.

The Gardens is an assisted living or residential care facility with 39 apartments. Apartments are unfurnished and consist of a kitchenette, living room, bedroom, bath room and walk-in closets. Residents have the freedom and privacy of apartment style living with the added amenities of: meals, housekeeping, activities, transportation, medication assistance and 24 hour assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs); such as dressing and bathing.

The Guardian House is a 60-bed Skilled Nursing Facility designed to be a low stimulus home-like environment with deluxe and private suites, as well as semi-private accommodations. There are three separate, secured units that offer individualized care. Residents are evaluated upon admission and placed on the unit most appropriate for their nursing needs and physical assistance.

The Guardian House offers a variety of rehabilitative services, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy; as well as restorative services that enable residents to maintain a high physical functioning level. The Guardian House also offers temporary or “respite” stays for residents when at home caregivers need a break or go on vacation.

“Families and visitors state that there is a distinctive difference in the atmosphere of our facility vs. other facilities — calm, serene and comfortable,” Estes said. “We constantly receive compliments on our care and how we treat our residents with compassion and dignity. When we conduct tours, people always comment on the cleanliness of our facility. Anyone who knows me or my family knows that we are passionate about caring for our residents and we work hard to ensure that our residents are cared for with dignity and respect. I have an open door policy and encourage families and residents to voice concerns and/or complaints so that we can correct any problems immediately and give the residents the quality of life that they deserve.”

What are the biggest selling points?

Assisted Living: Home-like environment, smaller than most assisted living facilities — not overwhelming — beautiful common areas that are newly renovated, in-house PT, OT and ST rehabilitation services.

Guardian House: Private and Deluxe suites, newly renovated, secured key pad entry, emphasis on social programming (activities), intensive rehabilitation, low stimulus environment, temporary or respite stays, small facility with individualized care, piped-in music in common areas, video monitoring in common areas.

Have there been any recent changes?

The Guardian House opened in 2000 as a Private Pay nursing facility. In March of 2012, The Guardian House became Medicare certified to offer skilled nursing and rehabilitative services. Renovations included: Brand new therapy gym, state of the art electric hospital beds, complete facility renovation to include specialized Medicare unit with Private suites.

What makes The Gardens & The Guardian House unique?

We are the only family owned and operated facility in Lake Charles and the only facility to offer assisted living and skilled nursing on the same campus. Our social program exceeds other nursing and assisted living facilities, for example, we have 7-9 activities versus 3-4 activities. We also have higher staff ratios which allow for more individualized care.

What is your policy with visitors and volunteers?

Our visitors and volunteers are always greeted with a smile. We promote family involvement in our residents care and unlike most facilities request constant feedback positive and/or negative to find out how we are doing and how we can improve. We have many students who volunteer from St. Louis High School as part of their apostolic commitment and the residents love their attention and involvement in activities.

Business Snapshot

• Location: 1401 Country Club Road Lake Charles, LA 

Owners: The Rider Family 

Services provided: Assisted Living & Skilled Nursing/Memory Care 

Hours: Residents receive 24 hour care and

Business office open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Years in Business: 13

Administrator: Tonya R. Estes

Phone: 480-1550  



Company Slogan or Motto: To enhance the lives of our residents and “Create Moments of Joy” for them each day.

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