Assisted Living

Parent Q&A

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  • Nursing home research

    Jan 26, 2024

    Hi all, 

    My siblings and I are starting to talk about what nursing care might look like for our aging father, and we're not really sure where to start.  

    We have a sense that we should look into putting his name on a nursing home list, but not sure how to go about researching what facilities are out there, and going about getting on lists, etc. 

    Does anyone have any experience with this process/ advice to give? Is there a directory of nursing homes in the Bay Area? Does anyone have a recommendation to share? 

    One complication is that our father suffered a head injury decades ago, so he has some unique cognitive / memory support needs (although as I watch friends' parents age, these needs may not be to far from what all aging folks need).

    Many thanks for any advice / recommendations.  


    A lot of long term care depends on how much money you have to spend. Long term nursing home use is primarily for medi-cal eligible patients. If you are looking that route I would suggest looking at nursing home compare online where Medicare puts star ratings based on various performance factors. If you have the funds, I would highly suggest a board & care situation. Board and cares are private home with 5-7 residents and 2-3 live in caregivers. They are a fantastic option! Good luck and feel free to reach out directly if you'd like more advice. I work in hospice as an RN and have seen many different types of facilities of the years. Email:debg325 [at] 

    I am not sure if you are looking for a skilled nursing facility or an assisted living. If you are looking for an assisted living, I have had a family member living at Tiffany Court in Walnut Creek for almost 5 years now and it's been a positive experience. My family member is very happy there and they treat her very well. I might even go as far as to say they spoil her (they make her special food and take her to Broadway Plaza on her request). Tiffany Court doesn't have memory care, but many of the residents living there need memory support. I encourage you to visit and talk with Patti and the residents. Assisted Senior Living Walnut Creek, CA (

    This is a very overwhelming process to navigate. Fortunately, because of that, there are some local care consultants - many of whom went through this with their parents - who can provide guidance based on their experience. I worked with Helen Lindberg at CareQuest to help find a place for my mom, she was lovely to work with.

    We worked with  Bryan Riddle​ at (on the recommendation of the realtor selling their house) when looking for an assisted living place for my parents. He was helpful and friendly and able to kind of talk us through the options and help us clarify what they needed. He didn't charge us a fee - I think he gets a kickback from the facility if you select one of the places he recommends. I'm not sure if he works outside Contra Costa, but maybe there's something local in the area you're looking for. Definitely tour a variety of places - it was time-consuming but I felt like that was invaluable for helping us see what was out there and get a feel for where they would be happiest. Good luck - it's a process but ultimately it feels good to know they're taken care of!

    You are wise to take this on and fortunate that you have siblings to share with this task. It can be an overwhelming task and the variety of senior residences is vast and varied. I participated in a caregiver group for advanced Parkinson's and recently completed a search for a memory care facility for my dear sister. The Family Caregiver Alliance is a good resource and perhaps a good place to start. There are also senior resident facility advocates that can help you search, based on your father's needs. FCA can point you in that direction.

    Best wishes for a good outcome and that your father thrives where you re-home him.

    What kind of placement you ultimately get for your father depends on how much money is available and what his needs are. The first thing to figure out is how much can be spent per month for his care. Assisted living facilities (ALF) offer residents their own apartments and the most autonomy, but are quite expensive. Given the cognitive issues you mentioned, it is not clear if your father was diagnosed with dementia and would require a locked unit which some ALFs offer, but again this would be a pricey option. I agree with someone else's recommendation about a board and care (B&C). They are less expensive than ALFs and offer more hands-on supervision and care. Prices vary based on the location and whether it is a private or shared room. If there are no private funds to pay for placement and your father is on Medi-Cal then you can try to obtain a custodial bed in a skilled nursing facility (SNF), however, these are notoriously hard to secure because so few are available. There is no master waiting list for SNFs and you would have to contact each facility directly if searching for an open custodial bed.

    If you are headed in the direction of an ALF or B&C, you can work with placement coordinators who can offer placement options based on your budget and they can even set up tours of any facilities you might be interested in. The services of placement coordinators are usually free. Here are some additional recommendations: Fernando Aquino 510-938-0017 (Your Senior Living Consultants), Sherry Cardenas 925-595-8533 (Alternative Beginnings) and Andy Hashimi 925-525-2727 (Lighthouse Professional Placement & Caregivers).

    Hope this information helps you. Best of luck!

    I went through something similar with my mother, and found Janet at A Love for Seniors to be incredibly helpful. She walked us through the different types of options/what the landscape looks like and what types of services we might want. A Love for Seniors is a referral agency, so she keeps tabs on all the local places and was able to talk to us about both specific options. She was also just incredibly kind and empathetic, which I really appreciated. 


  • Hello BPN community, my mother is in need of 24/7 care and we recently toured Elder Ashram in Oakland.  We liked it overall but curious if anyone has any first hand experience with them?  It's a newer facility so there isn't a lot of information outside of a few Google reviews.  If not with Elder Ashram, is there an assisted living facility you would recommend in the East Bay? Thank you!

    Hi there - my mother in law moved in two months ago and my husband would be glad to chat briefly via phone. If that’s of interest, please let us know.

    Lily and Colin

    A friend's father was there for 12-18 months before his passing (I don't recall the exact length of time), and she was tremendously pleased with the care, thoughtfulness, professionalism, warmth, etc. She visited at least weekly and was in regular contact with the staff, doctors and nurses. I can see if she'd be open to a conversation with you, if that would be helpful. 

    My aunt has lived at Tiffany Court in Walnut Creek for the past five years, and her experience has been very positive. The caregiving staff there has consistently impressed me with their dedication and quality of care. Patti, the director, is kind and approachable; she is always available to address any concerns, and I can contact her directly, even on her cell phone. Also, they have an excellent exercise instructor, Richard, and the chef goes above and beyond to prepare special meals for my aunt. The level of personalized attention makes my aunt feel like she is part of a family.

    It may be farther than you want to go, but Atria Walnut Creek was a good for my mother in her final years.  A recent thread at Nextdoor also recommended The Point at Rockridge [near Broadway & Pleasant Valley].…

    I have an acquaintance who has lived at Elder Ashram for 2+ years. 

    If you message me privately I will see if I can connect you directly.

  • I am looking for recent advice/reviews for assisted living elder care in the North Bay Area for my aging mother. I know often times ownership and leadership can change at facilities, wondering if anyone has any recent experiences and/or recommendations to share?

    My mom is at Elegance in Berkeley;  I live in San Rafael and it’s about 30 minutes away. It’s been a great place for her. I believe Elegance also has a location in Novato. 

  • Dearest Berkeley parents,

    I am reaching out specifically to parents who are knowledgeable about Assisted Living/Memory Care facilities in the area.

    My mother has recently received a dementia diagnosis and has limited savings that will cover about 2-3 years of Memory Care in a facility. She will need to apply for Medicaid after her savings are depleted in order to continue to receive care until end of life.

    What memory care facilities within a 50 mile radius of Berkeley take Medicaid? (For some reason, this simple information is difficult to ascertain.)

    Does anyone have first-hand experience with their parents being cared for in a facility that accepts Medicaid for payment? If so, please share your experiences and names of homes.

    Thank you!

    -Berkeley parent and member of the sandwich generation

    Hi Erin,

    I sympathize with you and the thousands of others who are or will soon be in your situation. We are unfortunately not equipped in our country to care for people who need it. Medi-Cal does not pay for memory care or assisted living, in general, unless you are able to get onto and then off of a multi-year waiting list for the Assisted Living Waiver. Here's a link to some info. I think the best thing to do is to consult an elder care attorney; they can sometimes help with figuring out a plan. (she is excellent)

    My understanding is that once a person only has Medi-Cal (state of California’s version of Medicaid), that only covers a custodial bed in a skilled nursing home (SNF). Medi-Cal basically pays for the room and the facility becomes the person’s long-term home. It is challenging to secure one of these beds because the SNFs don’t have many of them, patients don’t turn over often and they are in such high demand. My thought is that after securing a memory care facility now, you will have to work on finding a custodial bed at a SNF down the road when the funds are depleted. 

    Look into the PACE program.  It's a comprehensive, Medical funded program with wrap around services. There are assisted living and memory care places that will take private pay patients and then transition to the PACE program once the patient has expended their own resources.  Sometimes it's easier to get into a facility that way--that's what we're doing with my parents.  They have a combination of social security and pensions, and the money from the sale of their house.  Once the house money is gone, PACE will pick up the tab for their care. Really, PACE is a great program.  

  • Hello- I am preparing to move my sister to a memory care facility in the east bay, and would love to hear of any facilities that people recommend / have had a good experience with. I am leaning towards Lakeside Park by Lake Merritt. Would be interested in hearing from folks who had loved ones placed there. She has a little dog and we'd really like to find a place that will accommodate her pup. Appreciate any thoughts/guidance. I am anticipating prices are in the $8K - $11K per month range but guidance on that great as well.

    Thank you!

    I can’t provide any feedback about Lakeside Park, but I did want to let you know about people who work as placement coordinators. Usually their service is free to families and they are very knowledgeable about the facilities available in the price range you provide. I have worked with Sherry Cardenas at Alternative Beginnings 925-595-8533. Best of luck to you!

    We have looked at a variety of places for our mother.  She has been at Elegance Berkeley for 2 months now.  This is the 3rd and hopefully final memory care program she has been in.  There are pros and cons to all of the places.  One of the biggest challenges is staffing, the care givers work very hard and are often working short.  This place has the most engaging programs that we've seen.  Mom likes being able to attend the activities in the active living program. There is a couple that has moved in with their dog, and staff seem comfortable with this.  That said, group living is not what many folks prefer, and that can be a hard adjustment.  Best wishes for you and your family on this journey.

  • Assisted living costs

    Sep 17, 2017

    My siblings, who live all over the country, are looking at assisted living options for our mother.  Cost is one factor and I am guessing, that like everything else, it is more expensive here in the Bay Area than it is in the midwest.  Can anyone who has been looking into this lately give me some ballpark costs for assisted living for someone who currently needs the lowest level of care?  My mom is ambulatory and doesn't have dementia.  She sometimes requires help dressing and keeping track of her meds.

    Thanks for any input!

    We went through this with my grandma. When you're considering costs, include your travel costs, childcare costs, and time off work into the cost of locations that aren't near you. Unless you have a sibling that is close by and will be doing everything, you'll probably be travelling a lot as time goes on.

    The other thing to consider is that you want to move your mom one time only, while she's still in decent health and able to make connections. Old, unhealthy people typically die pretty quickly after being moved. We finally moved my grandmother out here and she was gone in a month. I really wish that I had pushed harder for her to move sooner when she could have handled it better and we could have spent more quality time together. It's hard because she would have been leaving her doctors, her church and her friends. I think that we made the wrong decision letter her stay in the midwest so long. She was fiercely independent and wanted to live off of her savings, something that would have been very difficult here. But I really miss her and wish that we would have had more quality time together.

    I recently moved my father into assisted living at Merrill Gardens. He pays about $5,000 rent for a 1 BR apartment, which includes meals, DirecTV, utilities, phone, etc. He has very limited mobility and requires the highest level of care, which works out to be about another $5,000 per month, so $10,000 per month total. He manages his own meds. I think if your mother requires minimal help, then you are looking at $1,000 or so as a starting point for extra care depending on what she needs. They do an assessment using a points scale, so it's probably best to call places and find out. BTW finding assisted living for him has been a difficult process which I never thought I would be doing. His younger wife died suddenly, and he cannot take care of himself, so my siblings and I decided to move him close to one of us, and that is to me. Although $10K per month may sound like a lot, it's a lot less than the cost of having someone come into his home, which was $10,000 for 12 hours per day, and did not include his living expenses.

    Merrill Gardens is a lovely facility, and the staff is friendly and helpful with one exception. One caregiver was so impatient one night (he moves slowly) and quickly shoved him into bed, re- injuring his back. This is clearly a case of physical elder abuse, and we are in the process of filing reports with social services. Also, the management leaves a lot to be desired. From what I can tell so far, these places are for profit, and so they hire as few staff as possible. There have been times when my father has waited 30 minutes for someone to take him down for a meal. One night no one came to put him to bed until quite late. The staff are kind, but seem overworked at times. Since your mother has mobility, this shouldn't be a problem, but she may need more help down the road, so try to figure out how quickly the staff can respond to her needs.

    There's WILD variation, but $4-5K/month.


    My dad moved into assisted living last april and we have been on a steep learning curve.

    First, there are brokers who are familiar with their areas and can help you find a suitable place for your mom. We used Helen Lindberg hlindberg [at]   She interviewed my dad and sent us stats on places she thought were worth checking out. She also set us up to meet with staff and have a meal there. (in one case we got better food at this meals than was actually served to the residents but didn't find out until dad moved in) She got paid from the marketing budgets of the place he moved into and does not charge you or your mom at all.

    Cost is broken down into monthly rent for the space, care costs (which you will not get until they do an assessment which happens far into the process of applying) and meds which are broken out of care costs and depend on how many meds she takes. If she does her meds independently there is no cost for that. You should budget $1000/mo for care costs on top of the rent. Rent varies from place to place and private rooms are more expensive.

    Dad wanted to stay in Oakland but they were all $5000 to $6000/mo so he's in the Pinole area - about $1000/mo cheaper. San Leandro has less expensive places. the farther out you go the cheaper it gets in general. 

    You should also look into CCRC's if it's an option (continuing care retirement communities) - they can be a great deal if you can afford the buy-in fee which can be steep. These places commit to caring for their clients through all stages of their old age until they die - a big load of uncertainty is lifted - my mom is in one of these - still independent but we don't have to worry about her at all. If you can find a non-profit CCRC with good food that you can afford, go for it!

    questions to ask:

    how much and how often do you raise your rates? ask for a record of the last few years

    whats the staff turnover?

    What is the percentage of "memory care" clients and are they segregated from the community?

    try to interview residents and family members of the places you visit - how long have you been here? do you have relatives here? (always a good sign if people are dragging family members to come too)

    good luck!

    I forgot to mention that I used my EAP as a resource for finding options. They can help you find places to check out all over the country. It was really helpful to receive a list of facilities to call and not have to spend time finding them myself.

  • My elderly parents want to relocate to northern California sometime this year. They are living off of a small social security income so they need an affordable 1-2 bdrm.  Although they are living independently now, neither of them is in such good health so we're looking for an assisted living environment where there are options for meals and community. They belong to the Chabad so if they can find a Jewish community that would be ideal. I'm hoping to find something that's within an hour drive from Berkeley. Any ideas?

    Check out Baywood Court in Castro Valley. It is a nonprofit, multi-level retirement community. It is very well-run - my son works there on the dining room staff and we've had relatives stay in their skilled nursing facility. The Castro Valley Chabad is 1 mile away. And, the executive director is a true mench. 

    I think somewhere around Concord would probably be your best bet. The Chabad in Walnut Creek is great and there's also the Conservative and Reform communities there, in addition to the Reform in Lafayette. Not as much of a Jewish community as on the other side of the tunnel though, and it often shows.

    My partner moved his parents from the east coast to here.  Prices in Oakland/surrounding were prohibitive, but he found places in Napa that were very nice and more affordable.  They are now relatively close by, and we can visit fairly easily.

    Have you looked at the Jewish Home for the Aged in SF ( 

    I don't know anything about the SF one, but both my grandparents were at the Jewish Home in LA. They started off in their own room, mostly living independently, but nurses on site and meals in a dining hall. Then, when needed, they moved to skilled nursing on the same campus. My grandmother was able to visit my grandfather in the skilled nursing because it was so close by. They also had a dementia unit and PT and OT on site. My grandmother was very involved socially until her death (taught a yoga breathing class, active in the arts room, attended classes and lectures). The one in LA had beautiful grounds to walk around. 

    As a geriatric social worker I use placement professional who act as broker; they'll save you lots of time and energy. You pay nothing and person gets fee from home. Highly respected are the following who have helped my clients; Dave McGinnis 510.540.7045, Janet Ruehle, Senior Visionary Services.

    Hi  mom2boyz, I am a Chabad member so you have asked a question I can help you with. This coming Sunday, at Neviot Shalom in Berkeley, a conservative synagogue, a meeting will take place to discuss an opening for a Moshav, where people will be living in community. If your parents are, as  you say, in need of an Independent Living Facility, Look up the one in Danville, which is near Berkeley. The Reutingler: Home at is a jewish based living facility and probably the best one in the Bay Area,

    If that doesn't fit, there is a nice one in Oakland, I used to work there as an art instructor. The Point at Rockridge, 4500 Gilbert St, Oakland, CA 94611 510 658 9266

    Another one I worked at was Byron Park, in Walnut Creek, as well as The Kensington in Walnut Creek. 

  • Senior Housing for Mom

    Oct 10, 2016


    I have reviewed past suggestions but I am writing to ask if anyone knows of available current senior housing for our mom.  She is pretty physically fit but has dementia. She has good days and not so good days. Her attitude is always kind and friendly.   We currently have care who visits but she really needs more social time in her day. structured meals and care.

    Does anyone have a recommendation? If anyone knows of a dementia care home for Finnish/English speakers that would be amazing.



    There's a place called "FAHA" in downtown Sonoma that is the "Finnish American Housing Authority".

    I believe they have senior apartments there, but I don't know any details.

    Why don't you give them a call and perhaps they can give some info on options in the Bay Area?

    My mother has dementia and has been at Lakeside Park in Oakland for several years. She is happy and well cared for. The facility is very clean and comfortable, and in a nice location right by Lake Merritt. It is very expensive, but that is par for the course with residential dementia care. Good luck on your search. 

    I had my mom at Tara Hills Care Home (small, maybe 4 beds) and was very impressed with them.  The family also has (or had) another facility also for clients with dementia. 

    I don't know how much luck you will have finding a Finnish-speaking place, but it doesn't hurt to ask.  Most caretakers are from the Philippines or from Africa, in my experience.

    Address: 908 Tara Hills Dr, Pinole, CA 94564Phone: (510) 724-1941

    I volunteer at the Royale in El Cerrito and I am struck by how kind the staff is, how well-cared-for the patients are, and how it doesn't have that weird smell that a lot of places have. I don't have a relative there, though. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

2013 - 2014 Recommendations

Assisted-living facilities near Berkeley

Dec 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

Assisted Living Recommendations for my dad

April 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,, 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]

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: - 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] 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 parents

Aug 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 area

Feb 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 parents

July 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: 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 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 MS

Oct 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: and also the AgeSong @ Lake Merrit (N.B. they have a sep. facility for dementia residents, not to confuse the two) 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 Avril

Options for my 92 year old grandmother

April 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 recuperation

March 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 ( they have ratings on assisted living facilities and also information on how to select one. Joanna Smith, LCSW, MPH, Healthcare Liaison. ( 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 call

July 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