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Carlton Senior Living Concord | March 6, 2019 | By Denee Coleman

Introducing Lori Thames, Executive Director of Carlton Senior Living Concord

Lori Thames, Executive Director of Carlton Senior Living ConcordTaking care of others has always been in Lori’s nature and so it’s no surprise that she has built a career around working with seniors. A lifelong resident of Contra Costa County, Lori draws her strength from her mother and grandmother who taught her to never back down from a challenge and to always continue learning. Lori was first introduced to the senior living field while looking for a place for her mother who had broken her leg and was placed in a skilled nursing facility.

Lori’s mother had suffered a stroke at just 30 years old and because of this, Lori had dedicated her entire life to caring for her mother. At the time her mother entered into the skilled nursing facility, Lori had been working in new construction real estate and she resigned from her job in October 2007 in an effort to “save her mother” who was no longer eating, participating in physical therapy or other activities.

Lori Thames with her Grandmother

Lori and her grandmother, “Maco,” pictured on the right.

Lori spent every day with her mother at the skilled nursing facility to help aid in her recovery and, as her mother’s Medicare coverage for skilled nursing neared the end, she began to research Assisted Living options. Lori says, “she hit the ground running” looking for options for her mom and eventually arranged for in-home care services. This period of research would prove to be very impactful and, having learned so much about senior living communities, Lori decided to pursue a career in senior care in 2008. Her grandmother had also lived with Alzheimer’s for many years which allowed Lori to gain a better understanding of dementia and the unique challenges seniors face as they age.

Using her experience in new construction real estate, she joined the sales team at a Vintage Senior Living community in Walnut Creek. Within six months of starting her new position, the community transitioned from offering strictly Independent Living services to also offering Assisted Living and Lori learned a great deal from this experience.

While with Vintage, Lori had become acquainted with family-owned and operated Carlton Senior Living through colleagues and decided it was time for a change. Upon leaving Vintage, Lori joined Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill (previously known as Chateau Pleasant Hill) family as a Retirement Counselor. At Carlton, Lori quickly found a mentor in Executive Director, Janelle Lopez, who encouraged her to consider becoming an Executive Director in the future.

After 8 years with Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill, Lori decided it was time for a new challenge and jumped at the opportunity join the Carlton Senior Living Concord family as a Retirement Counselor and to aid with the future transition to offering Assisted Living services. Soon after settling in at Carlton Concord, the position of Executive Director became available and so, once again, Lori embraced the opportunity for growth and officially assumed the top leadership role within the community in November 2018.

As Executive Director of Carlton Senior Living Concord, Lori’s priority is to ensure a positive resident experience while treating every resident with love, kindness and respect. She maintains an “open door policy” for residents, their families and associates to ensure that every voice is heard and to offer everyone an opportunity to contribute to the success of the community.

When she is away from Carlton, Lori continues to act as Caregiver for her mother one day a week. She also works with local animal groups to raise funds, collect donations and acts as a volunteer in general. Over the last four “seasons” Lori has also found time to support her partner, Leigh, in the operation of a local food truck. The couple is also excited for the recent opening of their restaurant in downtown Martinez which offers American-Italian cuisine.

Denee Coleman, Carlton Senior LivingRead more about Lori’s grandmother, Maco, on the blog: Maco’s Cranberry Jello Salad

Written by Denee Coleman



March 3-9 is Careers in Aging Week!

It takes a special group of employees to help our senior residents live their lives to the fullest, surrounded by love, kindness and care. Learn more about the diverse range of career opportunities available with Carlton Senior Living and how you can make a difference in the lives of seniors.

Learn more about Carlton Senior Living's "Careers in Aging"