A Family of Caregivers
Cimino Family Shares a Passion of Caring for Seniors
by Susan Laird, Land Park News Writer
“I wish there were nicer facilities for placing seniors.”
Although she didn’t realize it at the time, those words spoken by Wilma Tanzini Cimino in the early 1970’s would change the course of an entire family — and the ripple effect would go out to reach hundreds of families over the next four decades.
The Cimino Family resided in San Francisco back then. Dad John Cimino, Sr was a cabinet maker and remodeler in the City. Mom Wilma Cimino had her hands full raising two daughters and three sons. They were a busy, caring and happy Seventh Day Adventist family.
In addition to raising a busy family, Wilma provided in-home care and served as a conservator for elderly clients in the community.
“The church would call asking for help for parishioners,” said Mark Cimino, the youngest of the three brothers. “Mom started caregiving as a business in 1973. We used to go with her to help Mrs. Freelander, who was blind. That’s where our lessons in caregiving began when we were children. We all took the bus to her home. Mom did the caregiving, our sisters did the housekeeping and we brothers did the entertaining.”
“There were many elderly people we used to help that Mom was taking care of,” said John, Jr., the eldest of the boys.
One day, an incident happened that changed the course of the family forever.
“Jane Herda was one of the people Mom was caring for,” said Mark. “I still remember the commotion because Jane had called Mom and said, “Wilma, this is Jane. My bed is on fire!” This was the days before 9-1-1.
Horrified, the Cimino family rushed to Herda’s home. They could see flames flickering through the window panes. The elderly woman had been smoking in bed and inadvertently started a small fire. Fortunately, the Ciminos arrived in time and were able to put the fire out – and Herda, who could not get out of bed without help, was miraculously unharmed.
Wilma, realizing that Herda could not be alone any more, placed her in a nursing facility. Back in the 1970’s, nursing homes were cold and institutional, and were perceived as places one went to die. Seniors rightfully avoided them for as long as possible.
That’s when Wilma expressed her frustration that there weren’t quality places for people like Jane Herda, who just needed assistance with daily living.
The Ciminos maintained contact with Herda for the rest of her life, an act the woman deeply appreciated. So much so , that when the older woman passed away, she left her house to Wilma.
“That was the beginning of the Easton Creek Villa, our family’s first care facility in Burlingame,” Mark said. “That house has a lot of meaning for our family, because we all got our start (in the caregiving and assisted living industries) there.”
With a passion for serving the needs of seniors, CiminoCare, a family of senior care facilities, was born. The company’s vision statement reads, “We responsibly operate Senior Living Communities, inspiring the heart, mind and soul to provide quality care, to connect with those we serve and to be leaders in our community and industry.”
Unlike the cold, sterile facilities of the past, the Ciminos developed care facilities that could care for physical needs AND emotional needs. Rooms had real furniture and furnishings. Dining rooms looked like dining rooms and family rooms were intended for families to visit and enjoy one another. It was a radical concept for the time.
The company expanded to two additional residential care facilities for the elderly in Burlingame, then expanded into the Sacramento area. The three brothers, John Jr., Paul and Mark, all run facilities in the area. Each brother is passionate about the resources their facilities provide to the community.
Paul Cimino, the middle son, is in charge of The WaterLeaf at Land Park. The WaterLeaf provides assisted living for the elderly.
“Basically, you have to want to do this kind of work,” Paul said. “You have to be jazzed about helping other people. The care is the easy part, in some ways. You have to look at the whole picture. We’re here for the families – to give them peace of mind. I’m passionate about helping the families. They are in control.”
Mark is the CEO of CiminoCare. He is a Rotarian with a passion for growing the talents and opportunities for those in the assisted living industry.
“I went to law school and clerked during law school,” Mark said. “I saw the potential for growth (in this industry). It’s about influencing people’s lives, influencing our team members. The people who go into this industry – they enter it because they care about other people. My passion is to provide my employees who serve seniors the opportunities they might not have otherwise had. The industry standard for employee turnover is about 45 percent. Our employee turnover is in the teens.”
John Jr. runs The Meadows at Country Place, an assisted living facility in the Pocket-Greenhaven area of Sacramento.
“I really enjoy providing a place that people can be proud to visit,” John said. “This is a place where residents and family members can invite their friends. And it’s a place that doesn’t freak out the grandkids.”
All of the facilities owned by the Cimino family are calm, hospitable and comfortable, with a family atmosphere.
Wilma and John Sr. continue to work with seniors. Although the couple still resides on the San Francisco Peninsula, it’s not unusual for them to visit any of the facilities, to make sure that the high standards this family has for senior care continues to be upheld. And to visit their three sons, who all live in the Sacramento area.
We all grew up around seniors,” Mark said. “Our kids grew up around seniors. Family is important. That’s why there is a family atmosphere at all of our facilities. What you see is what you get – we are all about the family.”
Providing Seniors the assistance they need, in the comfort, convenience and security of their own home.
- Personalized care and services
- Grooming and bathing assistance
- Appointments and short errands
- Laundry and linen change
- Assistance with shopping, medical
- Monitor diet and eating
- Meal preparation
- Incontinent care
- Light housework
- Medication Reminders
- Pet Care
Offering Quick Check Service
Only $22. per visit*
*Within Land Park, Greenhaven and Pocket Neighborhoods. Price subject to change without notice, 15 minute visits.