ComfortCare Homes > About > Our Legacy
ComfortCare Homes pioneered the concept of residential dementia care in Wichita, Kansas. Founded by the Stark family in 1993, our story began a few years earlier after J.W. and Reola Stark were both struck with dementia. The Stark’s son, Charles, and his wife Mary Lou, felt strongly committed to keeping their parents’ care close to the family.
With Charles and Mary Lou leading the effort, they enlisted the help of their own children, Doug and Leigh Ann. The process followed a path common to many families coping with a dementia diagnosis. For a while, daily check-ins were adequate, but the Starks’ needs soon increased, and Charles and Mary Lou made the decision to bring J.W. and Reola to live with them.
In the process of caring for the Stark grandparents at home, the vision of ComfortCare Homes materialized. Like any family taking on the care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s, the Starks spent time educating themselves about dementia and the best practices of care at the time. They soon came to understand that clinical care in large impersonal facilities increases stress and confusion and that most people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia respond well to calm, familiar environments. When the Starks opened the first ComfortCare Homes residences in 1993, they began to see their intuitive understandings create meaningful impacts on lives outside of their own family.
A Family Tradition of Care
As president and CEO of ComfortCare homes since 1995, Doug Stark has continued his family’s legacy of providing compassionate care to people living with dementia diagnoses. Under the leadership of Doug Stark, ComfortCare Homes has grown to include multiple homes in Wichita covering a comprehensive range of care options, as well as licensee locations across the state of Kansas.
In the Community
We encourage our staff to build community wherever they are, whether that’s in one of our residences, or on the board of a local civic organization. Our executive team leads by example, participating in dozens of community, charitable and civic boards and conferences, including the Alzheimer’s Association, Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Task Force, the YMCA and the Kansas Education Conference on Dementia.
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About Doug Stark
Doug Stark has served as president of ComfortCare Homes since 1995. A native of Wichita, Kansas, he attended Wichita public schools and the University of Kansas. Community and civic involvement are core ethics of Doug Stark. He has served on several regional and local boards and member organizations, including the Wichita Downtown Rotary and the Alzheimer’s Association where he was board chair. He was a Big Brother for 12 years, and served on the board of Kansas Health Ethics as treasurer, vice president, and president.
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