Condo or apartment complex for active, single senior?

Hi BPN, hope you can help me brainstorm places to live my close family friend could check out.  She lived in the Berkeley area for many years, currently lives in the PNW, and is considering a move back now that it looks like the next generation is settled here.  She is 70, single, active and community-minded (loves bringing people together).  She enjoys spending time with young people so is hesitant to live in a seniors-only place like Rossmoor, but also realizes there are many pros to that too (like the social groups she could join (or start), easier to make friends, etc).  She is ideally looking for an affordable two-bedroom condo but open to renting as well.  Ideal location would be relatively close to Oakland and BART w/ the option to have a car.  I remember reading here (I think) about a certain complex/development in Alameda but I can't for the life of me find it now, and I am not familiar with Alameda myself although it seems great!  I also thought of Marina Bay in Richmond but it doesn't seem very public-transit friendly so I worry that it wouldn't be comfortable to leave there when she is older and driving is harder (but correct me if I am wrong!).  Any and all ideas / info would be much appreciated.  Thank you!

Or if there are other places like Rossmoor that you recommend, we'd would be interested in hearing about that too.  

Parent Replies

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I would look into Baywood Court in Castro Valley and see if it’s a fit. I don’t have any direct experience with the independent living, but my mom has been in the health center there and we’ve been very happy with that. The independent living apartments look lovely!

What about Watergate in Emeryville? Few years ago I checked few condos there and was surprised to see that they had different clubs,gyms, pools and organizations and also have the public bus that takes you to Bart, etc. Nice walks around and so close to everything...

When my parents (now in their 80’s) relocated from NY to be closer to my family 5 years ago, they discovered a little hidden gem in Benicia, 30 minutes northeast of Berkeley.  They bought and renovated a 1400 s.f. mobile home in a 55+community called Rancho Benicia. Before you react, go see it.  It’s pristine, well-kept, very safe, and gated (open daytime, locked at night). Walking distance to First Street, with shopping, restaurants, and scenic waterfront.  Homes are priced in the $100,000’s-$300,000’s, with a monthly rental fee for the “space”.  Buyers must go through a qualification process with the park, in order to purchase.  This is a great community, and my active parents absolutely loved living there.  

She might look into Strawberry Creek Lodge! I’m not sure what availability is like at the moment, but it’s a big independent senior (62+) living complex in Central Berkeley. The location makes it very conducive for active seniors—it’s walkable to tons of bus lines, parks, BART, there’s a Target nearby for essentials, etc. We live in the neighborhood, so we’ve met many of the residents there as they take their daily walks around the neighborhood, and pretty much everyone is friendly and delightfully quirky.