Our Story

Retreat at Home is focused on providing care assistance to your family when you need it and where you need it. It is part of a larger healthcare family, Retreat Healthcare (still New Mexico owned and operated) and is led by its two owner/operators, Dr. Lena Ernst, Ph.D. and Mr. Robert Metz. The secret of Retreat at Home’s success is in hiring only the best team of clinicians and caregivers to ensure you get the best home care experience possible.

Our Founders

In 1996, Dr. Lena Ernst after years of experience working in traditional long-term care facilities, opened her first specialized dementia facility. She wanted to create a unique environment that focused singularly on dementia needs. Her goal was to create an atmosphere for moderate and advanced dementia residents that felt familiar, smelled like home, and was filled with love and expertise. Fifteen years later Dr. Ernst had created other healthcare programs that were centered on the most current academic information about dementia and her care facilities were winning national awards and recognition.

During these same years, Mr. Robert Metz was building his own unique care organization. He was on a mission to create a hospice and community-based homecare that was focused on meeting the needs of the entire family, not just the patient. He worked to slowly grow a local hospice and homecare agency that believed in the power of relationships. Mr. Metz sought out hospice nurses who put compassion first and found social workers and chaplains who were dedicated to the art of healing, even when curing a disease wasn’t possible.

In 2007, these two independent owners met, shared a common belief system and formed Retreat Healthcare. Today, you will find both Dr. Ernst and Mr. Metz leading this company toward excellence. Retreat Healthcare provides living facilities for dementia residents in all stages of dementia, home and community-based hospice services, and homecare services all with a unique specialty in dementia.  Retreat Healthcare continues to lead the way in dementia care models by utilizing specialized physicians and geriatric psychiatrists who work side-by-side with their nurses and caregivers.

Lena G. Ernst, Ph.D.

Lena Ernst is a native of New Mexico with 25 years of experience in the field of aging, healthcare, and elder programs. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico where she focused her research in the area of aging, dementia, spirituality, stress and coping. Over the years, Lena has worked with seniors as a licensed social worker, licensed nursing home administrator, and as an owner and operator of Alzheimer’s care facilities in New Mexico. Dr. Ernst, in partnership with Mr. Robert Metz, founded Retreat Healthcare in 2009 and now serves as the Chief Operating Officer for this family of care organizations that specialize in providing dementia care, home care, and hospice care using holistic care approaches that honor each person, mind-body-and soul.


Robert Metz

Mr. Metz has twenty years of experience in developing and operating companies in both the public and private sectors throughout the United States. These companies include New Mexico-based businesses in hospice and home healthcare. Having a passion for healthcare, Mr. Metz set out to bring a new standard to compassionate and loving care to those seniors his companies served. By creating innovative new approaches through strong leadership and proven management principles Mr. Metz strives to better the lives of the elderly. He now joins Dr. Lena Ernst in bringing this same passion and high standards of care to The Retreat by serving as the Chief Financial Officer.