Assisted Living Story Judy
The Story of our Senior Resident 'Judy Bollam'
Frontline Stories from Assisted Living at Stellar Care

Written by Bryan Finnigan

“What does Stellar Care mean? Does Stellar mean they only care until we ‘kick-off’?”

To sit and interview Judy Bollam is like trying to have a conversation with Johnathan Winters or Robin Williams. The interviewer quickly relinquishes all control and becomes a passenger on a whimsical ride of effortless free-flow observations. The only job I have now is to try and keep up.

“You want me to spill my life story? Let me brush my tooth and I’ll be with you in a minute.”

Judy has the gift. The gift of harvesting humor from the nooks and crannies of everyday life. From passing notes in the back row of church as a little girl to balancing a life in the workforce while raising three children, Judy’s situation may change but her personality withstands whatever conditions life may throw at her. Not only does she light up the room with her sense of humor it’s also a light she uses when the world casts a few dark shadows.

“One of the workers here looks just like my ex-husband…. One of these days I’m going to plant one on him and he won’t know what hit him!”

While her Irish heritage takes some of the blame for her mischief-making, most of Judy’s sense of humor comes from her father, a full-time church Deacon and part-time practical joker. Being one of five children growing up in Los Angeles, most nights in Judy’s house were spent laughing herself to sleep as she and her siblings lay in bed, listening to their mother fall victim to yet another one of her father’s pranks.

“My father was a Doozer. My mother was prim and proper, always hiding the fact that we were ‘rowdy’. One night my mother was hosting a gathering for the women’s club and she made sure the house was PERFECT. My father had just installed a new toilet seat that was made of aluminum. He purposely left the bathroom window open all day to let the cold air in…That night we all laid in bed and listened as these “proper” women, one by one, excuse themselves to use the restroom. Once they were in there we would listen closely and wait for them to yell, “Whoa!!!!” We were all upstairs dying! We always had a good time. I had a really great upbringing”

Pranks aside, there’s also a serious side to Judy….Who am I kidding? No there isn’t…..

I watched in awe as this self-professed “delicate” woman quickly jumped from one subject to the next, lampooning everything from petty in-house gossip to her anger toward jigsaw puzzles. With Judy Bollam you never know what topic is on-deck.

“Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?” She asked with the intensity of a true fan. “Oh myyy….I’ve read all three books – couldn’t put them down…. Whoa! When I die I’m going to turn fifty shades of grey.”

Judy may use a walker to get around the halls of Stellar Care but if there’s one thing she isn’t, it’s slow. With a sharp wit and untamed spirt, she seems to live her life much like her free-form style of humor- ready for anything.

“Is it time for me to leave, yet? I don’t want to tell you too much. I am a delicate woman after all…Not!”

Judy Bollam’s personality is much bigger than this small newsletter. And like Johnathan Winters her comedic gift is so bright that it cannot be contained to a limited space. She may like to play delicate but anyone who knows Judy knows better. Because when those Irish eyes start smiling… it probably means she’s up to something.

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Our Services

Memory Care

Our experienced staff provides a structured environment where residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can thrive with set routines.

Club Stellar

Residents who are early on in the progression of their dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may be eligible for our Club Stellar program and special rate.


Our staff prepares nutritious meals three times a day, featuring in-season fruits and vegetables, homemade soups, and diabetic options.


The Stellar Care activities staff curates tailored activities, field trips, and programs for all residents at various levels in the progression of their dementia.

A Memory Care Community

4518 54th Street  San Diego, CA 92115
Phone: (619) 287-2920

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