Meet Mark Foreman, Executive Director of our Wake Forest Facility and a Carillon Assisted Living Leader Since 2005
Among Mark Foreman’s many experiences as an Executive Director of multiple Carillon Assisted Living residences, none was more dramatic than the first. Soon after opening Carillon’s facility in Hillsborough, Hurricane Katrina walloped the New Orleans area. Mark played an integral role in the community’s response.
Joining with the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, and other community organizations, Mark helped determine the logistics of loading an 18-wheeler with bottles of water and other supplies. They included items from a huge garage sale Carillon had hosted that summer as a way of introducing ourselves to residents in the county seat of Orange County.
It took two weeks to get the tractor trailer loaded and to its destination. A key player in the scenario: a Chamber member who grew up in Pass Christian, one of the hardest hit areas of Mississippi.
“She couldn’t get back there, but she helped us make the connection,” Mark recalls. “We discovered what our area needed, and what people wanted to be, in addition to health care. To be part of others’ lives like that was exhilarating.”
Since that rousing kickoff to his Carillon career, Mark has helped open facilities in Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale and Wake Forest, and served as an interim director in Durham for six months. In addition to his current duties as director in Wake Forest, he is helping oversee the Garner facility while our executive team searches for a new director.
Vice President of Administration and prior Chief Operating Officer Ken Kirkham calls Mark a dedicated member of the Carillon family who is not only dedicated but conducts himself in a very professional manner.
“Mark serves as a mentor to other Executive Directors as they transition into the Carillon family,” Ken says. “He’s also a very involved member of the community where he lives. He’s a dedicated family man too, and very involved in the lives and activities of his two children.”
Even though working at half a dozen Carillon residences, throughout his 13-plus years with us, Mark has always lived in Wake Forest.
The city of 40,000 has played a pivotal role in his life. It’s not only where he’s been involved in various community organizations, it’s where he met and married his wife and fathered his two children, now on the cusp of their fifth and third birthdays.
It’s also where Mark has developed a more comprehensive understanding of elder care, which first caught his attention while he was working in the hospitality industry. His original career took him to such places as Disney World, Dulles International Airport, and Redskins Park.
“I got into nursing home administration as a caregiver and said, ‘This is amazing,’” Mark says of his transition. “Elder care is the merger between hospitality and health care. It’s easy, fun, social—and challenging.”
After managing a nursing home for about five years in upstate New York, he managed a nursing home in Raleigh for nearly three years before joining Carillon.
Since he joined the team, Carillon has grown from six to 22 facilities. Healthcare has grown in complexity as well, especially as an increasing number of families come to a better understanding of the challenges faced by their loved ones, and how Carillon can help.
“Many walk in and say: ‘I’m tired’ or ‘I’m exhausted; what can you do to help?’” Mark says. “We often learn later what was going on at home, but wasn’t revealed prior to someone coming here.”
That requires learning more about family dynamics, especially as siblings “come out of the woodwork” at the end and Carillon’s staff becomes more like counselors and therapists. Still, Mark says becoming helpers allows adult children to return to the familiar role of son or daughter instead of caregiver.
With longer lifespans and Alzheimer’s or dementia affecting people at younger ages, the span of Carillon residents sometimes reaches 40 years. While the mixing of generations means meeting a variety of tastes for food and activities, these challenges are part of what Mark likes about his job.
“Healthcare is predictably unpredictable,” Mark says. “You don’t know who’s going to need your help today, even though you have and need some structure. To know you can hold someone’s hand and be there when they take their last breath is like holding your child’s hand at the beginning. To see the circle of life is amazing.”
on August 24, 2018