Skilled Nursing Facility

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • I have a friend who lives in a truly appalling large SNF (skilled nursing facility) where new owners have drastically reduced services making his quality of life awful.  

    He is only 60 but has lived in a nursing home for over 10 years due to a severe stroke.  He is paralyzed on one side and is a large man so needs Hoyer Lift to get him in/out of bed but the Hoyer Lift is frequently broken so they often leave him in bed and bath him infrequently. He has bed sores that are not manged well, and the food is awful. A few years ago it was much better but has gone downhill.  His personal items are "lost" and they take advantage of his poor short term memory.  It's really heart breaking. 

    I am looking to find a nicer place somewhere in the Bay Area (south or east but not north of SF; Sacramento area also possible) but it must take medi-cal patients.  He receives full medi-cal (which pays for the nursing home) along with SSDI from a earlier work accident (which seems to make a difference with coverage), plus medicare A,B, & D.

    From what I understand, it seems hard to find nursing homes that accept medi-cal. In addition, he needs one with the Hoyer Lift.  Any recommendations or advise would be great.  We have gotten the ombudsman involved and will make a complaint but they also seem to be retaliating against him. He's a kind, easy-going guy and it's awful to see him having to live like this.

    I'm so sorry your friend is in this situation. Good for you to advocate for him!! I work as a hospice nurse in solano county and the best nursing home hands down is Vacaville rehabilitation and convalescence center (vcrc). Fairies post acute is also a good one in Fairfield. Try looking at the website nursing home compare to get somewhat of an idea of how nursing homes rank. It's tough out there... Sorry. Best wishes. Let me know if I can give any further advice. Debg325 [at]

    I wish I could help you in terms of offering a referral to a good facility that has openings for Medi-Cal patients.  Those are difficult to find.  As for the neglect and abuse, I recommend you or he contact California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform:  1-415-974-5171.  The SNF is violating a number of his rights, and they maybe be able to advocate for him or refer him to an attorney who can.  I'm so sorry that this is happening to him. 

    • California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) is a great resource and advocacy group.  Check here:  and also call them directly for more guidance.  They have a lot of data on nursing homes.  Do tell them your concerns about retaliation as well.
    • Contact the Bay Area Family Caregiver Alliance to see what guidance they can give you: (415) 434-3388 or (800) 445-8106
    • Medicare has a database on nursing homes:
    • If your friend is being retaliated against, it may be worth contacting Adult Protective services for your city/county.  I am not sure how much they can actually do but I can say that having extra sets of eyes on him is always good and it does help keep facilities on their toes.

    Good luck to you and your friend--I hope you can help him improve his situation.

  • Any recommendations on good residential homes -- preferably Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington or Richmond -- with a memory care unit for an elderly woman (aka "Mom") with moderate Alzheimer's?  Our family is conducting a multi-state search (three daughters, three states) and I'd like to investigate what's available locally.  We want to place her somewhere where there's lots of social interaction with both residents and staff, and where the care philosophy is one of contented dementia. Our mother doesn't qualify for Medicare, so we will be private paying, and are looking at facilities in the $6,000-8,000 / month price range for a private room (and including skilled nursing and other services that might count as add-ons).  Thank you for any recommendations!

    You know what, you should call this organization called A Place For Mom. They are a free service and they hook you up with several options based on your specific needs -- like a matchmaker for eldercare. I've been coordinating with them on behalf of my mom and they know ALL the places. I would call rather than trying to go through their online form, that's a much more efficient process.

    My family has had experience with two such facilities, Bayside Park and Lakeside Park.  They are run by the same company, but I believe that the owner has changed so you will need to check them out carefully.  We had some glitches with them but if I had memory issues and needed to be in a residential facility, I'd still pick them.  Bayside is larger and tends to have a more independent population, but they have a floor for residents with more serious cognitive problems.  The Lakeside facility is smaller and the residents tend to be more impaired.

    I strongly recommend you investigate Tara Hills Care Home in Pinole. Very small (6 beds?), personal care, really wonderful people. Looked after my mother during an incredibly difficult time. Not sure what their prices are now, but they were quite affordable 6-7 years ago.

    Contact me if you require more information.

    I looked closely at Salem Lutheran Home in Oakland, but I see they are now: Pacifica Sr. Living ( When it was Salem, I was VERY impressed with their Memory Care section for my Mom, who I'd been caring for in my home. But the physical plant is the same; and the cursory search I did on this San Diego company Pacifica is encouraging. Good luck finding the right fit for your Mom!


    I'm sorry, I've been in your shoes, so I know the challenges.  I strongly encourage you to use an absolutely fabulous resource who will assist you in your search here (locally):  Mona Lalchandani.  Website:  Read the reviews on Yelp--she is amazing and I can't recommend her highly enough!  If you're worried about cost, don't be--I guarantee you will be happily surprised.  

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Skilled Nursing or Board and Care for Mom?

March 2010

My mother is 84 years old and currently living in an assisted living facility. As her health and eyesite are getting worse we need to come up with another option for her. Can anyone recommend a great board and care or skilled nursing facility in the West Contra Costa area preferably. We would also be open to other parts of Contra Costa or Berkeley if the facility was nice enough. She uses a wheel chair a lot and needs help with daily routines, meals and sometimes help with the bathroom at night. Also if you have had any experience with any bad places. We are really at a loss as to which direction to go in and any help or recommendations from someone who has found a nice place for their older parents to live would be appreciated. jo

This is a recommendation for the person looking for care for frail, elderly parents. My 93 year old mother-in-law has severe dementia and for the past four years has been cared for in a small board and care home by Alta Bates Hospital called Eden Community Care Home for the Elderly. This board and care serves people primarily who need elder/dementia care. The staff is devoted, the home is clean and the residents are very well-cared for. It is owned by a minister who inherited it from his aunt. Most of the residents have dementia and some have been there for more years than my mother-in-law. They cook the food they serve and it is nutritious. Meals are offered in a family style dining room. A wonderful musician comes on Sundays to play for the residents. I would be happy to email anyone about this facility if you are looking for care for a parent or relative. We found it through a recommendation from the social worker at the Alzheimer Services of the East Bay. I know we have felt very lucky to have found this place and I wanted to spread the word. It is difficult to find good care for someone with dementia. 3028 Regent Street Berkeley, CA 94705-2551 (510) 548-7713

Seeking a skilled nursing facility for my mom

Nov 2008

I am looking for a skilled nursing facility for my 88 year old mom and was wondering if anyone has any recommendations or experience with any SNFs in Oakland, Berkeley or Alameda. Thank you Michele

check out: California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform

They can help with the latest info on nursing homes, what to look for, legal rights, forming a family council, etc. If you use their information, please consider a small donation to them--they are an invaluable resource.

I would take a look at Piedmont Gardens's SNF. Both my mom and dad received excellent care from them in the past, but you should check the results of current inspections.

No matter where your mother goes, you will need to stay active and involved for her to get good care. Good Luck

Nursing homes in Berkeley or Oakland

Oct 2007

I am having to move my father's elderly cousin into a nursing home. She now lives in Marin, and if I can keep her over there I will, but it's possible that none of the central Marin places will take her. So, I am wondering if any of you have any experience of nursing homes in the Berkeley/Oakland area. There are quite a few of them, so I'm hoping to get some individual referrals if possible. The place needs to be a nursing home (e.g. will accept Medi-Cal as payment), rather than an assisted living or board and care home. anon

My 93 yr old grandfather is at Berkeley Pines on Ashby, in Berkeley. He has been there nearly 2 years now. My mother goes to visit every day, which some might say has a lot to do with the excellent quality of care he receives. She has nothing but the best to say about the place. Good luck nursing home rec

How to find a good nursinghome that takes Medicare

June 2006

We need to find a nursing home for my mother-in-law and I'm not sure where to begin. I looked at the archives and didn't find very much. I also looked at the websites recommended in the archives but I'm more interested in people's experiences with nursing homes than in statistics. Can anyone recommend a nursing home in the East Bay that takes Medicare? Alternately, does anyone have any advice about how to go about looking for a ''good'' nursing home? We are hoping to find one where the staff is personable and caring and the environment is as pleasant as possible. Thanks

On June 22, Donna Robbins will be speaking on ''The Needle in the Haystack: Finding the Right Retirement Community-- how the Programs differ and how to choose the right one for your senior'' at the North Berkeley Senior Center at 7 pm. Donna really helped our family and my aging mother think thru the options here in the Bay Area-- she offers consultations, as well as ''planning for a move'' services. She has authored a book called ''moving mom and dad'' which we all found quite helpful as well. Her website is The whole process is pretty overwhelming. Good luck. Paula

Good Skilled nursing home for 64 yr old with MS?

July 2005

My mom is 64 and her MS has left her in a wheelchair. Her assistance requirements mean that assisted living seems not to be an option (She has been rejected by a couple). She is presently at Chaparral House in Berkeley. The staff is wonderful, and she has her own room. However, all of the other residents have serious dementia and are not capable of providing social interactions that are meaningful for my mom. Does anyone know of a local (within 30 minutes +/-) skilled nuring facility with a younger/non-dementia population that they would recommend? Thanks, Stephanie

Hi there. So sorry to hear about your Mom's situation. However, at least she has a caring daughter to help her make decisions and be there for her! I am a PT, and have practiced in several SNFs (skilled nursing facilities) around the East Bay for a couple of years. First of all, could she qualify to live at a Board and Care Facility? These are small home-like places usually only with 6 or so residents. They are much more personal and home-like than a SNF, and will accept wheelchairs. The only issue is insurance- she may have to get rid of Kaiser (I read your next question, too) and just apply for Medicare. Then, see if she qualifies for MediCal. Get together with the social worker at the facility she is in now, and that person, along with the business office person, can help guide you through the paperwork and questions.

The best SNF I have seen around here is Piedmont Gardens in Piedmont. They do have rigorous qualifications to be admitted, but it is the one place that I would feel good about my parent living in. I can't say that about several other local SNFs that I have worked at.

Finally, I have real issues with Senior Advantage about prescription benefits, but as far as equipment needs go they are really great. I have worked with the Kaiser wheelchair folks and orthotists for several even younger folks than your Mom with MS and Kaiser did a great job ordering powerchairs and splints and all of the things that your mom might need down the road. She would likely not get these things if she goes to Medicare/Cal. It is tough to make decisions about all of these things, but talk to the social worker and start making a list of all the pluses and minuses of each SNF or B that you visit, then do the same with the different health plans and make a decision based on that and also trust your instincts about the places- go and see them so that you can make the call. Best of luck to you and your Mom. Oakland PT

Nursing home (SNF) for my sick dad

November 2006

My dad is 89 years old and has many problems (heart failure, bedsores, infections, mild dementia) and is at the point where he needs to move to a nursing home (SNF). He is no longer eligible for the assisted-living level of care, and home care is not an option. I didn't see any recommendations in the archives for nursing homes (hopefully most of you haven't had to deal with this problem!). Does anyone know of a good nursing home in the East Bay, preferably near Oakland? Also, if you know of a really bad one, please warn me about it!

Other requirements: it must accept Medi-Cal (he has no money), and it must accept hospice (I believe he will die soon, so I want him to be as comfortable as possible).

Thank you very much
sad daughter

Dear daughter, Check out Bay View Nursing Home on Willow in Alameda. My mother has been there for almost a year, and I feel grateful that we found it. There are daily activities like movies, sing alongs, art, etc. for folks who are interested; the staff is caring and friendly; and they take Medi-Care

Finding a place for in-laws with skilled nursing facilities

July 2002

I need to find assisted living housing for my in-laws here in the East Bay. The posts I saw were more for active seniors. I would like a place with skilled nursing facilities as well, because I can see that need arising in the next few years. The ideal would be a Jewish center because they keep semi-kosher, i.e. no pork, shellfish, ... Any recommendations are appreciated. Linda

Finding good information to assist the eldery or disabled can be challenging. I recommend the following sites: (California Association of Nursing Home Reform, maintains a list of nursing homes) (A relatively new site, with host of information, including list of care facilities) (info on Medicare, Long Term Ins, etc. each county has its offices and trained counselors to help you sort through the maze. For Alameda County, the HICAP counselors can be reached at 510-839-0393.)