St. Paul's Towers


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  • Recent Experience with St. Paul's Towers

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    Hello, My in-laws are looking at retirement communities and St. Paul's Towers is at the top of their list (they have also considered Piedmont Gardens). We love the building, units, community, and level of care. They are very active and the current state of violent crime in Oakland is my primary concern. The feedback here is older, and I wonder if folks have recent experience. Feel free to message me privately. Thank you!

    We live up the street from St. Paul's Towers. It is definitely an urban area, and the crime is slightly higher than the area around Piedmont Gardens (which we're also very familiar with). However, that's in part because there are far more people out and about around the lake and living in the surrounding blocks, so I would guess per capita it's no different (or even lower). Incidents among seniors are rare, but have happened a few times over the years, in my memory. That hasn't stopped the residents there (and others in the area) from enjoying the neighborhood and walking regularly--we see residents of the Towers out every day, walking dogs, coming back from the grocery store, walking around the lake, etc. The staff is also very present. I would say crime doesn't need to be a deciding factor if the debate is Piedmont Gardens vs. St. Paul's Towers, but it might be if the decision is Oakland vs. a smaller city in another region.

    Hi! I live up the block from St.Paul’s so I can speak to neighborhood safety, generally. I have two young kids and feel completely safe walking in the neighborhood at anytime during the day. We have never experienced a crime in 7+ years. I am cautious at night (for example won’t walk home from BART after 8 or so). There definitely has been an increase in crime but from my perspective a lot of it is car-based (catalytic converters and window smashes). Though muggings absolutely do happen, I think they are more within the interior rather than the edge where ST Paul’s is. The street there and onto grand is very busy and well-lit. It’s definitely a great walkable neighborhood with the lake, library, shopping, Kaiser super close by. I’ve heard good things about St Paul’s in general and wish I could convince my grandmother to go there! 

    My mom has been living at St. Paul's Towers for the past three years and she LOVES it.  It is definitely in an urban area, and it was something we discussed before she moved in, but I haven't heard about any incidents involving residents since she's been there. She and her friends are always going out to walk dogs or walk over to Lake Merritt or over to Whole Foods.  She's 88, and she definitely keeps her wits about her when she goes out by herself, and doesn't walk around the neighborhood by herself at night, but she has been completely comfortable living there.  I visit her there all the time, at all hours, and I have never felt in any danger when walking back to my car or anything like that. 

    It's true that there was a shooting in the middle of the day by Lake Merritt last summer and that was definitely concerning! I did have a moment of panic, but in the end it sounded like it involved a mentally unstable person, and I realized that that could happen literally anywhere.  

    In short, I do think your concern is valid, but in my experience it's been a wonderful and safe place for my mom to live.

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

July 2010

My parents are looking to retire and move into a place that has multiple levels of care. I recently heard about St Paul's tower in oakland and wondered if anyone out there has a parent or parents there. If so please let me know what you think of it. My folks really want to move to Eskaton in Carmichael (sacramento area) but I would love to find a place closer to us (albany) so we can see them more easily. Thanks.

My mom has been at St Paul's for nearly 2 years. It has been such a good fit everyone involved! Since she moved in, she's gained back some lost muscle strength, put on a few pounds (which she needed), made several very dear friends, furnished a lovely small studio apartment with her favorite items. She's involved in a couple of daily workout classes, takes frequent walks at Lake Merritt, goes to the weekly movie night, attends several weekly club meetings, writes articles for the newsletter, etc. A year into her stay, she broke a hip and stayed for a couple of months in the skilled nursing unit. Subsequently, she had a couple other sudden illnesses that required immediate care. The skilled nursing unit is so wonderful. Great nurses, great therapists, and a great view of the Bay from up there. Through it all, her friends in the residential part of the building would go up and visit her, and then she got well again and resumed her apartment life. Check it out. St Paul's fan

From what we have heard from clients of ours and their families, St. Paul's Tower is a very good facility. However, if your folks already like Eskaton, there is one in El Cerrito: Eskaton Hazel Shirley Manor, 11025 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, CA, 94530-2300, (510) 232-3430. Stephanie Huie, Senior Helpers Berkeley Office

Nov 2007

Re: Parents moving to the East Bay - housing options?
After looking at about a dozen places, my mom just moved into St. Paul's Towers a few weeks ago. We looked at all the places you mentioned plus a bunch more and St. Pauls was by far the nicest. It is what's called a life care community - they have independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, etc., so once residents are accepted and move in, they never have to move again.

The apartments are beautiful, 3 meals a day are included and served in the restaurant, weekly houskeeping is provided, there are lots of activities, outings, transportation available, etc. Both the staff and residents are extremely friendly, helpful, and welcoming. And of all the places we looked at, St. P's was one of the few that didn't feel like an ''old people's home'' - it feels and looks like a very nice apartment building.

The apartments range in size from studio to 2 br/2ba with full kitchen and deck. They are light, airy, well built, well laid out. And they apparently have a lot of apartments available right now, which is not usually the case.

St. Pauls definitely isn't cheap, but if you/your parents can afford it, I would say it is by far the best option in the east bay. happy with St. Paul's

Jan 2003

Does anyone have a parent or loved one at St. Paul's Towers in Oakland? My 70 year old parents are looking into it, and I'm just not sure whether it will be right for them. They're used to a very quiet suburban neighborhood life in Northern Marin, and I wonder whether the very urban setting of St. Paul's could be a difficult adjustment. They have lived in one big city for a few years, Honolulu, which they enjoyed thoroughly, but Oakland might feel even busier and noisier to them? They are in fairly good health. My mother enjoys taking walks and my father rides a recumbent bike, both of which they could do around Lake Merritt. My mother would enjoy going to the museum, walking around Chinatown, etc. Both of them are afraid of traffic so I think they'd try public transportation. One thing's for certain, it is much more affordable than the options in Marin! I'd be grateful to hear from anyone with recent experience, Natasha

The best thing about St. Paul's Towers senior community in Oakland is that your parents will get health coverage at the Towers as they age, including assisted living and skilled nursing care (in very nice facilities in the same building). It's a ''Life Care'' facility (CCRC), which means that once entrants pass a physical and meet basic financial requirements, then follow-up care is guaranteed. That's big. (Wherever your parents move, they (you) should ask about the transition from independent living to assisted living and skilled nursing, should that become necessary).

The community, a tower on the shores of Lake Merrit near Fairyland, has recently been rehabbed,and the apartments are very nice.

You and your parents can talk to the admissions staff to arrange to talk to current residents, to see what their experience is like. If your (your parents') concern is about the Towers ''urban environment'', I'd tell the admissions staff and ask for some formerly ''suburban'' residents to visit.

The Redwoods in Mill Valley is not expensive, but has a long waiting list. My mom's friend recently moved there and could only get a studio because the wait list for 1 and 2 bedroom apartments is so long.

Good luck. Merry