Archived Q&A and Reviews
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2013 - 2014 Recommendations
Assisted-living facilities near BerkeleyDec 2014
I want to move my mother to an assisted living care place near me. She's 89, living with help at home and needs more care and a lot more fun and social interaction than she's getting. Do you have experience in any assisted care communities within a reasonable driving distance from Berkeley? I would love to hear about it. Of course, I want access to excellent medical care, a caring respectful environment, skilled, happy care-givers and a facility that has more to offer her than being placed in front of a TV . My mother has some mobility and a pretty darn good brain at this point. She is an artist and gourmet. She'd love to see museums, theatre and concerts. I bet she'd love a crafts and/or arts room, some lectures concerts etc. She needs some friends and social interaction. She needs other folks her age or near it she can talk too. Staying at home has been too isolating for her. Ok, does such a place exist near here? I've been to 2 such places in New Hampshire and Maryland, but have no idea how to get started here... Ideas? Places to avoid? Prices?
You could use a senior placement specialist -- this is what they do -- but understand that the model is such that they provide their service to you for free but get paid by the community in which the person chooses. If you choose to go this route, I would suggest contacting Mona Lalchandani at Exceptional Senior Placement Services 510.562.6434 or Jann Oldenberg at Senior Visionary Services at 925.699.2295. Dana
Hello Dolly! Yes, there are many solid East Bay assisted-living communities that could meet your mother's needs / preferences, where you will find engaged, educated, welcoming residents. Each place has a different culture & management style. Demand is high! Best places often have wait-lists, so plan ahead. (Several places have poorly managed staff, maintenance issues, violation citations, etc.) Assisted-living communities are non-medical, and licensed by California's Dept of Social Services; care-giving staff are typically overseen by an RN or LPN/LVN.
Disclosure: I provide a Berkeley-based consumer research and outreach service, Elders Together, for families seeking long-term care and senior housing. Have evaluated & repeatedly visited local senior-living communities. Be wary of online senior-housing ''finder'' services, which simply compile a list of local companies, and sell your contact info to all the senior-housing places within a certain radius of your zip code. Then you'll receive many sales calls. Don't rely on salespeople alone: visit places on weekends and evenings to get a sense of atmosphere and culture, try the food, and ask for resident references.
I'm also a local parent who had to deal with care-giving for my own mom. In my experience, the ''ideal'' solution meets one's specific, unique needs, especially culturally. And financially! Monthly fees in the East Bay run from $3,000 to $7K and higher, depending upon many factors. Good luck! Linda Jacobson -- Elders Together
My friend and colleague Helen Lindberg is a local placement specialist who knows all of the communities, their cultures and availabilities and pricing. There is no out of pocket to her clients, as she is reimbursed by the communities. Where Helen shines is in understanding each individual and finding the appropriate environment where they will thrive. Her contact info is as follows: CareQuest Helen Lindberg, AC www.carequest.us
Assisted Living Recommendations for my dadApril 2014
We are looking for recommendations for Assisted Living options for my father, who is an 80-year old retired professor with vascular dementia. He enjoys being around people who share his interest in science, nature and the arts and would love a place that offers a lecture series or some other intellectual activities. Our preference would be to find a community that is close to Montclair, so that we can visit frequently, but we are open to considering a broader area if there are communities that offer more than what can be found near our home. My father is still fairly mobile and is able to take care of general personal hygiene independently, but he would need a place that can provide medication management and preferably one where there are options for increasing care, especially around memory issues. Any suggestions would be welcomed, as would warnings about places that have not worked well for others. Many thanks
Piedmont Gardens has a full range of care and offers lots of classes and activities. Many of them are of a quite high caliber. Marcia
Piedmont Gardens (on Piedmont in Oakland) may be what you are looking for. It is home to many retired U.C. professors. I sing with a group that performs there annually, and the residents always seem lively and engaged. It does offer different levels of care, including memory care. Carrie
Senior Seasons, www.seniorseasons.com, is an amazing resource. Kaye Sharborough, who runs the Peninsula division, worked extremely hard to find a great living situation for my elderly, disabled parent. Her husband handles the East Bay. They have personally visited the facilities, can tell you the pluses, minuses, cost, if they allow pets, etc. They are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful for this sometimes overwhelming task. Been there
We live in an area with some fantastic care-providers who are on the leading edge of person-centered dementia-care, and assisted-living communities full of retired academics, artists, and other professionals.
Taking a consumer-advocacy perspective, I'm giving a free, public talk on this topic this Wed., 4/23, at 3pm at North Oakland Senior Center, for Bay Area Community Services (BACS) staff and participants (adult day-care center). Everyone is welcome but please RSVP to BACS at 510-601-1074 or to program supervisor rtracy [at] bayareacs.org.
My presentation, 'Not Your Grandfather's Dementia Ward: A Look at Residential Memory-Care Communities,' will explore options, costs, & trends in East Bay memory-care, including options for increasing care, and will help people learn how to identify places that might not work so well.
I'm happy to meet 1:1 or present this talk at no charge to local organizations and community groups. You can reach me at 510 926 0699 or email EastBaySeniorCommunities [at] gmail [dot] com. Have tracked cognitive neuroscience research/brain health for almost 20 years. Linda Jacobson
I have a friend who has his own elder home care agency. They don't do assisted living but they find in- home care workers to help keep elders in their own homes. He might have some advice for you. Here's his website: http://www.christelshomecare.com - good luck Debbie
Assisted Living that's affordable?Sept 2013
Hi, I've been looking for Assisted Living Housing for the past 3 months, in Berkeley, Oakland, and Alameda. All the ones that I've found are really expensive ($3,000 a month). Does anyone know of any other Assisted Living Housing that is not so expensive? Thank You anon
Shopping for Assisted Living is definitely time-consuming, given the range of choices around here-- everything from small board-and-care homes hidden in residential neighborhoods up to multi-building complexes with 100+ residents. It is possible to find housing for under $3,000/month in Alameda County, especially if your elder shares a bathroom or a bedroom in the home. The smaller homes tend to cost less depending upon needs.
You might find different ways to cover monthly costs, too. If your elder has financial assets and doesn't qualify for Medicaid, besides using savings and investments, one might convert a life insurance policy, tap home equity, or be entitled to a pension through the Veterans Administration if the person or their spouse served in the US military.
I help Berkeley-area families needing elder-care by offering a complimentary concierge service for all senior-related needs-- elder living placement, referral and advisory services -- if I can help you, please email me at ljacobson [at] assistedtransition.com. Good luck! Linda Jacobson
If you would like to consider 'staying in place,' i.e., staying at home with care, try calling Senior Helpers of Berkeley. They have wonderful caregivers who can come for a few hours a day, all day, overnight, or live-in. Susan Grant, the owner, is compassionate and caring. 510-524-6700. Barbara
2010 - 2012 Recommendations
Assisted living for elderly parentsAug 2012
My elderly parents are moving to the Bay Area from the East Coast and are looking for an assisted living facility in the Oakland-Berkeley-San Francisco area. They would prefer a place with a medium to large Jewish population and many activities. Neither of them drive any more. My mother already has significant memory loss and will most likely need care for dementia in the future. They are not considering Rhoda Goldman because of cost. We have looked at Piedmont Gardens and Monarch Place. Do you have other recommendations? We have also heard that there have been problems with the skilled nursing care at Piedmont Gardens. Does anyone know if the situation has improved there? I would appreciate hearing any experiences with either of these facilities or others you would recommend. Thank you
You might want to look into Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living in Danville. Anon
Try Greenridge Senior Care in El Sobrante. It is tucked away on a hill off of San Pablo Dam Road and is a lovely peaceful place with plenty of activities. Plus they have an Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing side by side, so there is always the right level of care available. Staff is very loving, facility is very clean and cheerful. Phone no is 510-681-4771. Good luck with your search. Avril
I work in the Elder Residential Care world and I am Jewish. You did not mention AgeSong as one of your choices. For all the reasons you inquired about I believe AgeSong should be on your list. Our work in memory care lead by our founder Nader Shabahangi has an international reputation and we are competively priced. I work at the independent community on Lake Merritt and am happy to talk with you about our assisted living community in Emeryville that has a memory care floor. Allison Rodman 510-593-6978
We can help you! Call me or Mona Lalchandani to match your parents up with the living facility that best suits their needs and desires. It is free to the client (we are paid by the facilities).
The core of what we do: Help families and their loved ones through one of life's most difficult transitions with compassion, dignity, and respect.
We meet with you and your parents, do a needs assessment (health, finances, lifestyle, culture) and understand the people and situations on both the client and facility sides, to then provide a few options. *We are our clients' advocates; not facility salespeople.*
BTW, the two facilities you mentioned have different financial and care models - look at that carefully before you decide. Jessica Behrman
Continuing care retirement communities in the areaFeb 2012
Does anyone have any experience with continuing care retirement communities in the area? I am beginning the process of finding a place for my elderly parents, as they plan the big move from their home in Florida to the Bay Area to be close to me. Any recommendations or advice would be most welcome.
My personal experience is primarily with Piedmont Gardens. My father lived in the nursing home section of Piedmont Gardens 2002-2008. They are located adjacent to Piedmont Avenue, have a active community, van rides to museums, even cultural events like luaus & concerts on-site. I felt it was a very good placement for him overall; I saw that the nurses there stopped to visit with him & gave him personal attention, which had a major impact on his quality of life.
I also toured Mercy (Catholic-oriented), Salem Lutheran, and the Jewish Home in San Francisco (not sure if it's a CCRC) & was impressed, but don't know anyone who lived there.
You'll find that your own involvement will make a difference no matter where your father goes. --Good Luck
Assisted living for elderly parentsJuly 2011
I am trying to bring out my elderly parents, and have been looking at assisted living places. Dad needs more help with daily care such as bathing, foley catheter, etc. Mom is more mobile. I have looked at Sunrise, Aegis Living, and Monarch Place so far. Does anyone have any experiences with any of those, or recommendations for any other places in Oakland? I have been on a short timespan, and its hard to sort out all of the variables so fast. Lisa
My mother-in-law was at Aegis (the facility in Moraga) for several years before her death. It was a nice place, and the staff was very competent and caring. There were activiites for her when she was able to enjoy them. They helped arrange her transition to the dementia unit as her needs changed, and hospice when the time came. It was expensive, but was a good place for her when she no longer could take care of herself. Daughter-in-Law
Excellent Assisted Living for 85-y-o grandmother?Feb 2010
I am interested in bringing my 85 year old grandmother from New Jersey to live close to me and my family. She is currently living independently and just can't manage anymore. Bringing her into our home might be too much to handle, and she does/will need medical care as well. Does anyone have recommendations for excellent assisted living facilities in the East Bay? She does have resources, so cost is not a big issue. Thanks so much. Sarah
Hi I don't know where you live but Diablo Senior Homes has two residential facilities. One in Danville the other in Clayton. Here is the website: www.diabloseniorhomes.com Best of luck to you! Heather
Greenridge Senior Care is a lovely assisted living facility- clean, beautifully decorated and the people are very warm and treat the seniors like their own family. They are located in El Sobrante with easy access from I- 80. The rooms are large and the facility has a cozy atmostphere. There are plenty of activities to provide stimulation and therapy. There is also a skilled nursing facility next door where seniors can be moved in case they need additional care later. You can check out their website at www.greenridgeseniorcare.com or give them a call at 510- 681-4771. good luck in your search! Avril
Check out Rhoda Goldman Assisted Living in SF. My Mom was there and it's a wonderful place. Great staff, lots of wonderful activities, a beautiful facility, etc. I really can't speak highly enough about it. reva
2007 - 2009 Recommendations
Financial assistance for assisted living facility?Nov 2009
My mother is way past ready for an assisted living situation. The problem is that all her money is tied to her home and to sell the home would take a lot of money getting it ready. Does anyone know if assisted living facilities have low income placements? I could help out paying for this for approx 6 months, but my concern is that the house won't sell in that time frame and I will have to pay beyond that. Someone told me that facilities have low income criteria for lower monthly payments but I haven't come accross this. Anyone?
We are just moving my mom to Assisted Living. We haven't found low-income subsidies for Assisted Living but there are Adult Day Care programs and similar programs to help people stay in their homes that are targeted to low income seniors who would otherwise need Assisted Living level of care. You would need to contact your county's Area Agency on Aging to find out what's available where she lives. For example Sacramento County has a home caregiver program for low income seniors. Senior independent living facilities may have some low income designated apartments but there is often a waiting list. For both independent and assisted living we have found that the non-profit facilities (often run by churches) are better. They may not have chandeliers and designer paint on the walls, but they have dedicated staff and the rates are lower. If your mom is a veteran or the spouse of a veteran, look into pensions and 'Aid and Attendance Benefit' through your local Veteran Services Organization to help with assisted living/caregiver costs. Good luck to you and your Mom. Kathy
Assisted Living for 65 Year Old Mother with MSOct 2009
My mother will be moving to the Berkeley area sometime next year (my father has aggressive pancreatic cancer and was given just a couple of months to live). She and my father have agreed that my mother would like to live in an assisted care facility in the Berkeley area.
I have perused the previous listings for assisted care but I wanted to find out which facility is best for young seniors. My mother is 65, can still get out for a short walk every day (using a cane), has a few cognitive issues (typical for MS-- memory issues), but is generally with-it, interested, social and bubbly. I think that being 20-30 years younger than everyone else in a home might depress her a bit. My sister and I would like her to live with us, but we have 5 small children between us, and the energy of young children just exhausts our mother's nervous system.
However, she does need someone to at least be within hearing range (in case she falls) 24 hours per day.
Do you have any recommendations for us? Thank you. Worried Daughter
I cared for my Alzheimer'd Mom in my home for 5 years, until her death @ 91. Before she died, I looked at (and liked) the Salem Home in Oakland: www.salemlutheranhome.com and also the AgeSong @ Lake Merrit (N.B. they have a sep. facility for dementia residents, not to confuse the two) http://residencesatlakemerritt.com/community_Nearby.html Good luck --''been there, done that'' (well,almost had to)
Try Greenridge Senior Care in El Sobrante. It is in a very convenient location, has a lovely view, and the care givers are wonderful. It is also very reasonably priced. They have an assisted living facility as well as a skilled nursing facility on another wing which is nice in case your mother needs any more specialized care. The place is cheerful and lively and there are activities for the seniors everyday that they can choose to attend. They also go to the Center for Elder Independence and other outside trips. The phone no is 510-681- 4771 or you can also check out their website at www.greenridgeseniorcare.com Avril
Options for my 92 year old grandmotherApril 2009
My family is in the process of choosing an assisted living facility in the east bay, for my 92 year old grandmother. Right now we are focused on Mercy (Oak), Salem (Oak), or Elders Inn (Alameda), and possibly the Birkshire (Berk). The smaller size of Elders Inn (or the Birkshire) seems like a potentially better fit for her, but I'm wondering if the quality of care is as high. I would love to hear from anyone with direct experience with these particular places or opinions about other assisted living places in this area. Lysa
I had a very positive experience with my father-in-law at Salem Lutheran. He lived there for several years 4 years ago, before moving to Portland to be near family, and we always were in awe about the kind of care for the price. The facilities were well cared for, it offers many care levels, and the staff we worked with were very good to him. It was a gem for our family. Julie
2004 - 2006 Recommendations
Short-term assisted living for recuperationMarch 2006
Hi- My father-in-law (living in Rossmoor, currently) is getting more fragile and would like to live in an assisted living residence close to us (5 mile radius from Albany/Berkeley). Does anyone have any recommendations for a decent place that is not horribly expensive and in the area? Additionally, does anyone know of a short term assisted living residence (month- long is okay) while he recuperates from a bad fall? Thank you for your replies. Eugenie
You say your father has asked for an assited living facility because he's getting frail. If you are interested in alternatives, there are ways he can live independently with some precautions for his state. I've heard about a system that basically uses motion sensors and a computer to track the status of seniors in their homes-- checks things like if they've taken their medication, daily activities, etc. and reports to you if there are any changes you need to know about that could indicate a fall, illness, if it's too cold or hot in the home, etc. If this sounds like it could be an appealing and workable option for you, check out QuietCare online. If not, I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful! Jessica
Many assisted living evnironments have rooms for temporary stays while someone is recovering from an injury. You could check with Claremont House or Piedmont Gardens in Oakland. Generally the larger facilities will be the ones to offer this option. Assisted living situations are not inexpensive, but, after all, you are paying for 24 hour care. The pricing will really depend on the amount of assistance someone requires. Please contact me if you need help selecting one: there's lots of assistance through CANHR (wwww.canhr.org): they have ratings on assisted living facilities and also information on how to select one. Joanna Smith, LCSW, MPH, Healthcare Liaison. (www.healthcareliaison.com) joanna
We have just been through the temporary recuperation from a fall part of your question with our frail elderly. The over 60 clinic on Ashby X Sacramento is helpfull. A nurse took us aside and quietly recommended that we drive the extra time over to the Rounseville. (40th X Broadway) It was an inconvenient commute from Berkeley for us twice a day was all we could manage with kids etc. They were very nice and she liked the taste of the food. They pureed everything to avoid choking problems....she missed the texture of course and was anxious to get home and have a martini, but they were very good there and trained us in fragile skin care etc..... I think all of these places are depressing and scarey. Maybe there is a better place but that is what someone in the know recommended to us. It is very clean and the staff is sweet.
El Cerrito Royale in El Cerrito is a very good center with several levels of assisted living. The rates vary and there are some HUD spaces at the facility, although you will have to check on current availability. My mother was there for five plus years and received wonderful help and care, including dining, medication ordering, storage and monitoring and delivery, entertainment, dining, cleaning, laundry, transportation to doctors clinic and errands, etc. A very nice staff and facility which has recently been redecorated. This is technically a board and care facility, which may affect your choice, as it is not literally a nursing home or classified as a SNF (Skilled Nursing Facility). The prescription givers are med techs. The location is less than 3 miles from Berkeley, and an easy commute. Recently Lost Mom
2003 & Earlier
Independent grandmother needs someone on 24-hour callJuly 2003
I have looked at the archives on assisted living, but was hoping that there might be someone out there that currently has a parent or grandparent that lives in an assisted living facility in the East Bay. I would like to find a nice place for my grandmother whom is independent but needs to have someone on 24 hour call. I am interested in any advice or opinions on the following homes: Montego Heights Lodge in Walnut Creek, Merrill Gardens in San Ramon, Moraga Royale, The Bershire in Berkeley, or any other nice facility that I might have over looked. The criteran would be: within 30 miles driving distance of Alameda, Friendly competant staff, clean, home-like atmosphere, a large independent room w/ private bath, great diabetic meals, and where more care is available if needs change in the future. There are so many to choose from... Help! Any advice would be grealy appreciated. Thank You, Melissa
we recently put my grandmother in a board and care home in El Sobrante that my family just loves. They have many of these types of places everywhere. If you want specifics, feel free to e-mail me and I can get the referral information to you. My mom got a list from Kaiser with all the local places around her house. Great food, 24 hour care, and 3 elderly woman in the home with my grandmother being the youngest at 93. they are usually run by phillipino nurses, since they can't work in a hospital with license from another country , but they are fully qualifed. Kerri
We were very happy with Summerville at Creekside in San Pablo. My mother lived there for three years until she needed to move to a nursing home. Amount of care is limited, but the community atmosphere is excellent, with many people still essentially caring for themselves. Size is big enough for social variety. There are many activities and regular concerts at the home. Outings on the house bus are available regularly. Food is decent. Phone number is 510-236-1444. Wendy