BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Apartment & Housing Communities for Seniors
Berkeley Parents Network >
Apartment & Housing Communities for Seniors
In-laws moving to the Bay Area
Hi, all. My in-laws are moving up here from Los Angeles,
and we are trying to find them a new place to live. They are
early 70s, retired, reasonably active. They enjoy outdoor
time, but nothing terribly exerting. My mother-in-law is
cultured and engaged, but not the quickest to make new
They looked at Rossmoor, but can't swing it, and the
realtors they have spoken to seem to be steering them toward
condos in Pinole. I am wondering what else is out there, and
if any of you have had experiences with communities like
Rossmoor that might have a lower $$$ entry point. They are
selling a house down south, but we can't be sure how much
money they'll have to work with.
I'd love to see them somewhere with access to public
transportation and a farmer's market. A community of seniors
would be a good thing. All advice is welcome (even if you'd
just like to introduce your beloved realtor). We are in
Berkeley, and they will want to visit their grandkid
regularly. Many thanks!
Two years ago, after we had our first kid, my in-laws moved
here from NYC. I was encouraging them to find something in
the lower hills just above Solano or Shattuck in North
Berkeley, convinced it would be perfect for them. We looked
at many options including Lake Merritt, Piedmont and
They ended up settling in a large apartment complex in
Downtown Walnut Creek. They are very happy, they are a few
blocks from BART, 1 block from the Farmer's Market and a few
blocks from a park, many stores and restaurants. Their only
complaints are that the apartment complex they are in 1) has
no wireless and 2) has an annual price increase. There are
several complexes opening up nearby and they suspect they
may move to one of those, although they are renewing for
this year. It has rarely taken us more than 20 minutes to
get there from North Oakland.
Best of luck, have a local grandma has been great for us.
Hi. I know someone who is senior who moved from Maryland to
a Walnut Creek senior community.
http://www.walnutcreekmanor.com/ She's in her late 60s /
early 70s and likes it alot. She drives. The community is
near the Pleasant Hill BART station tho not exactly
walkable. There is a large and very good Farmer's Mkt in
downtown WC every sunday. WC also has lots of monthly
events. Coming from LA, not sure how your in-laws would like
the sizzling hot temps that WC gets in the summer. We moved
to WC one month ago after one yr in Rockridge and nearly 7y
in LA (near Venice) and I find the dry heat slightly
intolerable. However the Walnut Creek Manor community seems
nice and affordable. Worth a look perhaps. Good luck!
We love San Leandro, and there's a great Senior Center in
town, an active senior community, excellent library, and
many fun things to do in town. Cost of living is great, but
going up gradually. The library is a great place to start:
get the local activities guide there, and be sure to check
out the excellent collection. A surprisingly broad
selection of magazines and books are available (I work in
several libraries so I am well-versed in how important it is
to have a great collection!). Grab a San Leandro Times
while you're here, too. Much of the town is pleasantly
flat, so it's great for walking or bike riding. There are
two BART stations and AC Transit buses. People are
friendly, down to earth, and it's a great diverse community.
The reason we have a lively senior community is chiefly
because many people moved here in the 1950's-60's to raise
their families and stayed in San Leandro. Our realtor, Amy
Robeson, was excellent. www.amyrobeson.com As a local
resident, she went above and beyond the call of duty to help
us buy a home and get to know our new city. We discovered
her thanks to very happy reviews on BPN and her help was
essential for making our home buying process smooth. Good
luck in finding the right town for your in-laws! Kirstin
Does our ideal retiremnt neighborhood exist?
We are in the same 'spot' and were wondering if there was a
retirement community that was ACTIVE and fun to live in. We
recently went on the Del Webb site, and of all the places to
live, the Del Webb property in So. Carolina - called- Sun
City Carolinas[actually on the border of No. Carolina and
1/2 hr. away from Charlotte,N.C.]. This property really
appealed to us.
You own your own home, and there is so much to do from
kayaking, tennis, golf, swimming, biking, classes in line
dancing, crochet, quilting, cooking,etc.etc.... -[over 100
The tax rate is 6%, and the cost of living much cheaper than
Calif. You can buy a 2 bed.2bath starting @ $190,000 and
they are very well made homes.
Anyway, with the Bay Area getting so expensive, and us
wanting a change, we are going to look into this very soon.
Hope this helps.. judy & terry
I didn't see the original post, so I don't know if you're
considering California or not. I know of several people who
have moved to Oakmont in S Rosa, and they really like it.
Plenty of different options from renting to owning condos,
houses, care facilities. My parents visited a Del Webb type
place in Roseville and said it was nice. Same sort of thing.
And my inlaws looked around at a place near Aptos that they
liked a lot, but it sounded pricey, and I don't remember the
name of it.
My 68 yr old MIL is moving to the Bay Area soon. She is
quite isolated and we think she would benefit from a
community of others close in age. She is unemployed and
lives on her social security checks without much in the way
of savings. She is physically healthy and does not need any
sort of assisted care. Any recommendations for housing
communities or ideas for her? We thought about Rossmoor in
Walnut Creek, but I think they encourage buying a place
instead of long-term rentals. She could live in the South
Bay, Marin, or East Bay and is open to all of those places.
My mother has lived for 15 yrs at Strawberry Creek Lodge,a
large apt complex for low/middle income independent seniors,
65 & over,on Addison St in Berkeley. She has thrived there,
and made friends, with a very lively, interesting &
multi-cultural population.Mom is a former New Yorker, an old
'lefty', former actress & singer. She pays xtra for the meal
program - 5 dinners /week, pretty good food; activities are
created by the occupants, incl Scrabble groups, poetry/play
reading group, opera movies on Mon nites, Tues/Friday first
run movies, Gray Panthers mtgs, arts & crafts (full pottery
workshop),lots of bodywork scheduled, music,etc. Lovely
large garden, Andronico's 1 block away.Not as upscale as
Rossmoor, more Berkeleyesque! Please feel free to contact
me directly... Joanna
Hi - I'm a health advocate/geriatric care manager and would
recommend you speak with a senior placement specialist.
Their services are free to you, however you must know that
they get paid a referral fee from the community in which
they place people. If you're comfortable with that, I would
recommend: Juliane Bigelow with CareQUest www.carequest.us
925.935.8811 Steve Sharbrough with Senior Seasons
www.seniorseasons.com 650.851.5284 or if your MIL has any
sort of forgetfulness or needs memory care, I would
recommend Sandra Wallace from Insight Memory Care Choices,
www.insdightmemorycarechoices.com 650.208.8809. If you're
not comfortable with the referral fee, I would be happy to
help find the appropriate place for your MIL although we do
charge the client and do not accept referral fees. Good
I'm wondering if anyone has experience with Senior Living
facilities. We're looking to relocate my mom, who's been
living alone, up to the Bay Area, and a wanting to find the
best place we can. One of the most important factors is that
they accept dogs-she has a beloved Shiba, and there's no way
she'll go anywhere where he's not welcome. She's not really
the formal, St. Paul's type-more Berkeley-like in her
outlook. Any advice? Thanks!
We moved my in-laws to Bay Park in Pinole. It's just off
the Appian Way exit. It's very nice, lots of single women
there and everyone is pretty high functioning. Residents
can have dogs, except in studio apartments. I have found it
to be a supportive, friendly community and my in-laws seem
happy there. Feel free to email if you want more info.
My father is about to sell his business in Los Angeles and
is looking for a retirement community in either Arizona or
Northern California. He is fiercely independent and very
active. Since we are in Berkeley I am hoping there is
something he will like not too far from us. While he gets
around, he has had 3 hip replacements and can't go too far
too fast. He enjoys golfing, so a golf course is a must
wherever he goes. While he is not a practicing Jew other
than the high holidays, his Jewishness is important and he
would like to be in a community with other Jewish people.
Gardening, flowers and landscaping are also loves of his. I
would appreciate knowing of any places you are familiar with
that might entice him to come and live near us.
I suggest Rossmoor.
I know a number of people whose parents
moved there and love it. Many activities. Lots of people
who are on the go. I don't know whether there is gardening
but they do have a picture of a woman gardening on their
site. He could volunteer at Heather Farms Gardens which is
in Walnut Creek and is a gorgeous place maintained by an
army of volunteer gardeners. There are other community
My friends are all Jewish. Not everyone is Jewish at
Rossmoor, nor are the Jews necessarily religious, but there
are Jews. The JCC is not far and they have some movies and
cultural activities. It is not far from BART and your dad
could go in to Berkeley or over to SF to museums and such.
Take a look at their website:
They have golf and swimming. Dawn
Berkeley is a pretty good place for older Jewish people.
There's an active cultural life (film festival, classes at
the JCC and various synagogues. The secular culture for
older people in Berkeley is also very active with the 3
senior centers and the YMCA as hubs. And I know of a number
of families where the Jewish grandparents have moved here to
be closer to their children. Unfortunately there are no golf
courses. For that, you'd probably have to go out to Walnut
Creek. I know they have a reasonably active Jewish Community
there, but I don't know much more about it. anon
My parents who live back east are now in their 80s and hope
to move out here to the Bay Area to be near me, their only
daughter, and my two children. My dad is in good health, but
my mother had a stroke and uses a walker and will need
assisted living sometime in the next few years. We would
like to find a place where they can buy a home and live
independently as long as possible, and then have assisted
living there when it becomes necessary.
Ideally, my parents would like a two-bdrm, single-family
home but are willing to get a condo. They can spend around
$400K. They have been homeowners since 1962, so I'm not sure
if they would be willing to rent an apartment, but if the
facility is exceptional, perhaps they would consider it?
Their residence must be all on one floor without stairs.
On the internet, my dad found places in Santa Rosa and
Petaluma, but we would like them to be closer. (We live in
central Berkeley.) Driving at night is difficult for my dad,
and what happens when he can't drive at all? We'd like for
them to be no more than 30 minutes away because at some
point we have to do all the driving when we see them. We
thought Rossmoor over the hill would be ideal, but it turns
out Rossmoor does not offer assisted living.
A little about my parents: they retired in a resort area
back east, in a gated community. In their community,
everyone must get permission to paint their homes a new
color, cut down trees or bushes, etc. They are not allowed
to have gardens on their property. I find it sterile, but my
parents love it there because everything is neat and clean
and no yards are 'unkempt'. They like nice suburbs and
dislike Berkeley and most metropolitan areas of California
because they're too urban, crowded and dirty. When they
travel, they don't like cute little B&Bs. They prefer hotel
chains like Marriot because they know what to expect and it
will be clean and well-kept. When they used to visit us in
Berkeley, they stayed at the DoubleTree hotel in the
Berkeley Marina because it is so NOT Berkeley. I would love
for them to live close to us in the East Bay but most of the
area is too urban and crowded for them. I keep hoping that
we could find something for them in the East Bay, but it
would have to well-maintained, very clean and bright.
Do you know of any places that offer independent living now
with assisted living when it's needed? Or, do you know where
I can get a directory of places that I can investigate? Have
you been in my situation? Thanks!
You (and your parents) should visit Rossmoor, a retirement
community in Walnut Creek. It meets a lot of the criteria
you mentioned and is in a safe, quiet place that's only
about 20 minutes from Oakland/Berkeley. They provide a
variety of housing options, including condos and houses for
independent living, but I'm not sure about the assisted
living options. The community also has many amenities,
including a health clinic, swimming pools, and classes right
within the gated community. You have to contact a real
estate office to sign up for a tour since you can't just go
visit on your own. Check out the website for more
My mother in law spent several very good years at Byron Park
in Walnut Creek. It is very un-Berkeley -- suburban,
manicured, courtyard with swimming pool and spa. There are
one- and two-bedroom apartments, a dining room, activities
and a shuttle bus that regularly goes to the Safeway on Tice
Valley Road and into Walnut Creek. It is definitely more
independent living than assisted living, though there is
some support available as needed (pay as you go). It is
clean and orderly -- feels a lot like a Marriott, so your
folks might feel right at home. When my MIL's needs
(dementia and mobility problems) exceeded Byron Park's
ability to meet them, we moved her to Aegis in Moraga. Also
nice, and like Byron Park in some ways, but more of a frail
elderly population. Aegis staff were very loving with her,
and helpful arranging and working with hospice when she was
in her last months. Both places are pricey, but it sounds
like money is not too much of an issue for your folks. Good
luck. Aging Parents are a Challenge
I know you stated your parents were looking for a place to
purchase, but you might want to take a look at Baywood Court
Senior Community in Castro Valley. They have an independent
living section, an assisted living section, and a 'health
center' or skilled nursing section. My father lived in the
independent living section for 3 years. He had a one
bedroom apartment, but there are also two bedroom apts
available. He had some major surgery about two years ago
and moved to the assisted living section. He is 91 years old
and rather frail. He is in a studio apt now and gets
excellent care. There is a very active senior community
there and they are offered all kinds of activities and
outings. He has been very happy there and made many new
friends. Castro Valley is only 25 minutes away, but very
Is Davis too far? Because I think University Retirement
Community (URC) is what your parents are looking for (except
maybe a little more expensive):
http://www.retirement.org/davis/ It is really nice in a
sterile, everything is the same sort of way that it sounds
like your parents would like.
There are individual little houses, or they can move into an
apartment/condo, or there is actual assisted living. I had
an aunt with Alzheimer's in the high care part of facility
and it didn't seem as depressing as similar places I'd seen.
We also know people who moved into one of the little
2-bedroom houses and they like it. There are bigger
gathering rooms they can reserve for parties, there are
dining halls for when they don't feel like cooking, and
other nice amenities. I think (but am not sure -- might be
getting it confused with somewhere else my aunt stayed) that
they have shuttles to various places -- like to Sacramento
or San Francisco -- so maybe you wouldn't have to do all the
driving. At the very least, there is good train service
between here and Davis so your parents could take Amtrak.
Hi. There are many versions of senior housing out there.
In broad terms there are buy-ins (CCRC or life care) and
rentals (assisted living, independent living, etc) . If you
want to stay in the east bay and you want the buy-in, you
could look at Rossmoor, Salem Lutheran Home or St. Paul
Towers (my favorite of the buy-in variety). If you like the
idea of rentals you could try AgeSong @ Bayside Park or
Byron Park. Each county offers services through the fed
funded Area on Aging. They provide directories. There are
placement services available but they tend to work with the
communities that pay them to recommend their community.
Just wanted to let you know that while Rossmoor does not
offer assisted living, they will allow residents to bring in
their own private caregiver(s). On Sacramento Street in
Berkeley is the Berkshire (vintagesenior.com) which is very
close to where you are. Also St. Paul's Tower in Oakland
might be another choice. Best of luck! Stephanie Huie,
Senior Helpers Berkeley Office
To get some guidance/education I recommend:
The latter two are specialists who are brokers of assisted
livings/retirement living/care homes. Their services are
free to families. Both are very experienced and reputable.
I recommend these two especially since they provide a more
personalized service- can set up appts. for you to see
places, may be able to meet you there or possibly pick up an
elder to have them view the place, negotiate the price as
well as the one-time non-refundable fee if applicable- no
obligation. Both serve multiple counties.
Hi, I am looking for low-income senior housing for a close
family friend. My friend is over 70 and looked for senior
housing everywhere in the Bay Area. They didn't take her
several years back because the waiting lists were way too
long. She went back to work to earn money for rent, and was
taken off the waiting lists because she had an income. She
is a cancer survivor and works very hard. It is frustrating
that in the Bay Area it is hard for low-income seniors to
find housing. Please help.
Try Satelite Housing. They have Senior and Section 8 housing
all over the East Bay. Some are very nice and new.
Hi, does anyone have recommendations on Senior Living
facilities in San Ramon (or Dublin), possibly places that
have assisted living help? We are about to start evaluating
the various places in San Ramon. If someone has a
recommendation or would be willing to share their knowledge
of these facilities, we would love that.
My mother-in-law has been very happy at the senior
apartments on Finnian Way in Dublin (Santa Rita/Tassajara
exit off 580). No assisted living services, but fairly
new, very clean and nice. Good luck.
I am exploring continuing care retirement homes for my
parents who are about 80 and retired academics. I see old
recommendations, but not much up to date. We are looking at
The Berkshire this week, and would love some first hand
commentary on it.
Have not found much else in Berkeley, seems as if we need to
go to Oakland to Piedmont Gardens, St Paul's Towers,
Cardinal Point, or? Any other possibilities in Berkeley?
Greatly appreciate any feedback on the aforementioned or
others I should check out. (Contra Costa County will not do
for them.) emily
My father in law moved to Piedmont Gardens when he was 83
years old and widowed (from Ohio). He'd had a year previous
in a similar place in Ohio that he didn't like much and
really preferred Piedmont Gardens. The independent living
situation is great. Decent if institutional type food. The
staff are nice. Good company. Lots of retired academics.
Having a library, bank, grocery store, drugstore all within
1-2 blocks is great for continued independence. And it's
blocks from Kaiser and Summit.
The buy-in is steep--same with any life care place.
The skilled nursing facility is atrocious (not the staff
themselves but the staffing numbers and physical amenities
including medical equipment), but has recently been cited by
the state with a lot of bad publicity and I imagine will
improve as a result.
No place is great in all aspects (some much better with
skilled nursing but not so with independent living, and
We looked at Saint Paul's a couple of times with him. More
formal/class concious (suit jackets to dinner for example),
near the lake which is pretty, not near any practical
shopping other than Whole Foods.
One nice thing we realized actually worked was that if your
folks don't like the place, they can move. (My father in
law moved within a year of his Ohio retirement residence
start and got a full refund.)
One important thing is having it be close enough for you to
get to easily. Location, location. Susan
I have seen this question come up a few times and I just
wanted to recommend Baywood Court Retirement Community,
21966 Dolores St, (just off Grove Wy), in Castro Valley. My
father moved there in 2004, two years after my mother passed
away. It has three levels, independent living, assisted
living, and skilled nursing. My father initially moved into
the independent living. The apartments are one or two
bedrooms with a full kitchen. They are provided two meals a
day in a nice dining room setting. About a year and a half
ago, my father had heart surgery and needed to move into the
assisted living section. These are studio type apartments
and they receive three meals a day again in a nice dining
room setting and receive assistance with medications,
showers, and other personal needs. My father has been very
happy there and has made many friends. They have lots of
activities and field trips and the residents are very
involved in what goes on there. Should he require full time
nursing assistance, he can move to the skilled nursing
center, which they call the Health Center. It was just
opened last year and has been beautifully remodeled. I
can't tell you what a relief it has been to me to know he is
being well taken care of and in a place he likes. Should
you want any further information, please email me.
My 70 yo parents are considering moving to the East Bay. My dad is in
good health for the most part (is pretty mobile, drives, does his own
cooking/cleaning), but my mom has a number of health problems and is
increasingly in need of assistance (needs help with ADLs). They currently
live independently in their own (2-story) home and want to move to a
1-story home. I'm not sure how long they will be able to live
independently. I'd like to get a better sense of the different housing
options they have. I've read some (very)old posts about places like Lake
Park, St. Paul's Towers, Piedmont Gardens, Claremont House. I'd love to
hear from anyone who has more recent experiences with them. I'd also love
to hear any thoughts about places that allow for a gradual transition to
assisted living - i.e., it would be a pretty big shock for my parents to
go from living independently, to assisted living. Any recommendations?
My mother just moved to the East Bay - and after checking out the different tiers of
assisted living, she ended up opting for a regular apartment in a high rise. She's
pretty active and healthy, but the apartment building has things like security and
elevators which eliminate some of the problems of living alone which she may encounter
over the next few years. It's turned out to be a great choice for her. She just
couldn't face moving into an elder resident complex - even the ones with graduated
care were so radically different from her usual independent living in a suburban
house. The apartment is pretty centrally located, so she can walk to the bus, the
BART, and various services which will also be an advantage as her ability to drive may
decrease over the next few years.
Another East Bay Daughter
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
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
I am looking for senior housing options for a friend. She is 84
years old, and relatively active, but slowing down. She is
currently living in a house but is having trouble keeping up
with maintence. I was hoping to find something like an apartment
with van serivice and medical staff available. She currently is
in okay health, but I would like to find a facility that has an
independent living accomodations and more options for more
assistance as her needs change. Thanks. Lisa
My mom lives at Lake Park Retirement Residence @ 1850 Alice St.
in Oakland. Near the Scottish Rites Temple, a block from Lake
Merritt. At Lake Park you ''buy in'' to what they call ''Life Care''.
You pay for your apartment (different apartments, different
prices) plus a monthly fee which goes up slightly every year
based on cost of living increases. Meals, activities, medical
needs, etc. are all included.
As you need more care, it is available at no extra cost. So...my
mom lived in her studio apartment independantly for 3 years.
SHe had a kitchenette in her apartment where she ate breakfast.
For lunch and dinner she went downstairs to the main dining room
and ate with friends (fairly good food in my opinion).
Then she moved down to another apartment (same) on the assisted
living floor where she was for about a year. Now she is in her
own room on the skilled nursing floor (my mom is almost 93 and
has progressive old age dementia which developed over the last 2
years). She is very well taken care of.
Lake Park is clean, big, lots of activities and the staff there
could not be more wonderful.
Your mom can go and visit and stay for 2 days...they will put
her up and assign her a buddy, so she can get a feel of what it
might be like to live there. My mother was certain she would not
like it till she spent 2 days and made friends and found that
her life would be busy and happy, as opposed to the very
isolated life she was living in her big house that she could no
longer take care of in New Hampshire.
It was a big move for her but she adjusted well.
There are many other great places too....Piedmont Gardens,
Claremont House (across from the Rockridge Shopping Center) St.
Paul's Towers (near the lake too) and I'm sure others.
I suggest you call these places and go on a tour yourself before
bringing your mother. Good luck. If you would like to talk more
about Lake Park or how we decided on that vs.others, please e-
mail me. Good luck.
My mother currently lives independently in San Francisco. We are eager to
have her move to the East Bay, as she is having more challenges driving,
memory, etc. We have toured Cardinal Point in Alameda and Piedmont Gardens
in Oakland, both very nice. She would do well in an active, social place
where she can live independently, but other options as she ages, including
possible Assisted Living and Memory/Alzheimer care. Does anyone have any
experiences with either place or know of other 'Continuous Care
Communities'? We live in Alameda, so want something in the area.
Lake Park on 18th and Alice in Oakland, off of Lakeshore is a really nice retirement
place. They have independant living, assisted living and nursing care. My mom moved in
there about 7 years ago to a studio apartment. After about 3 years she moved to
assisted living and then later on to nursing care. The care at Lakepark is
great...it's clean, friendly, efficient.
We chose Lakepark because they had the different levels of care.
When my mom was active and able she had a great group of friends. They ate together,
went places together. There are lots of in house activities and also a van that takes
residents shopping, to shows, concerts, etc. Also the various Drs. come there to see
Good luck in finding a good place for your mom. You can ask me more if you want to.
I have been looking at senior housing for my 86 year old mom. She is in pretty
good shape, but 86...not ready for assisted living, but needs more socializing and
transportation. She currently lives in Rossmoor. I have looked at Chateau III in
Pleasant Hill, Claremont Gardens, Lake Park, Piedmont Gardens, Strawberry Creek
(too hip) the Berkshires, (too fragile). I live in West Berkeley and would like her to be
within 15 or 20 minutes, but will compromise if the place is great. I would love to
hear from someone with some current first hand experience at any of these places. I
am glazing over. They all seem OK, but nothing says YES absolutely... Wish there
was another option, like the communal living of our younger years.... Any advice
My mother-in-law spent five years at Byron Park, the Independent
Living facility on Tice Valley Rd. in WC. (If your mom lives in
Rossmoor you have passed Byron Park a million times: It's the big
grey buiding on the left as you turn onto Tice Valley from
Olympic.) It was a good place for her. Each resident has their
own apartment (studio, 1 or 2 BR), with a functional kitchen.
There also is a dining room that serves lunch and dinner daily.
There is a pool and a hot tub, the place is clean and airy, and
there is a pull cord in every apartment for emergencies. A bus
takes people to appointments, shopping, etc., and there are some
interesting excursions for those inclined to explore. It really
is independent living, however; no one there suffers from
dementia or needs more than periodic assistance. For someone
with all her marbles, in search of a senior community with just a
bit of support, it is a good place.
When my mother-in-law was no longer able to live independently
(dementia and mobility problems) we moved her to Aegis in Moraga.
It is an assisted living place with sliding scale assistance:
the more you need, the more you pay. But it does not feel
institutional the way most AL places do. Each resident has a
room with a private bath and small refrigerator/microwave. The
dining room serves three meals a day. It is bright and clean in
the same way Byron Park was (one reason we chose it). It is just
a block from shopping, and right near a beautiful walking path.
There are some sharp seniors there (alas, my mother-in-law is not
one of them) and staff is nice and helpful.
Good luck with your search.
I am considering moving my mother to Berkeley or close by,
certainly no farther than El Cerrito, and I'm interested in
learning about housing for retired people. I've heard of some
of the places here that offer apartments and services for
elders, but I don't know anyone who lives or lived in any of
them. I've looked at the website and my mother is not a good
candidate for Rossmoor. I've also gotten recommendations that
contradict some of what I read. I know that many, if not all,
of the popular places have waiting lists. I would be interested
in opinions, recommendations or impressions.
We moved my mother-in-law from the east coast 5 years ago, and
set her up in Byron Park in Walnut Creek (on Tice Valley Road,
on the way to Rossmoor). It is primarily an ''independent
living'' facility (though there are a few ''assisted living''
units). The place is not cheap, but has worked well for her.
The rent includes one meal each day in the dining room, where
the food is uninspired but decent. You can opt for a second
meal too. The building surrounds a central courtyard, which has
a swimming pool and hot tub, which are open from late April to
October (approximately). The apartments range in size, and are
quite nice. The front desk checks on residents who have not
called in each morning, and every apartment has a pull-cord that
alerts the front desk of emergencies. There is a shuttle bus
that takes residents to shopping areas and to doctors
appointments. There are activities (e.g. movie night, hymn
singing, exercise classes) and occasional outings to museums and
other places of interest. The residents tend to be educated and
interesting. The staff has been very patient with my mother-in-
law's occasional lapses of judgment, and have kept in good
communication with us when issues have arisen. We fear she may
eventually become unable to care for herself and need to leave --
a downside to independent living places -- but until then, she
will continue to live happily at Byron Park.
My 89 year old mother has been at Lake Park Retirement Residence
for 2 years and is very happy there. At Lake Park (1850 Alice
St. in Oakland off of Lakeshore) you buy in to what they
call ''life care''. This means that you pay for an apartment.
Price depends on size and view of apt. After that you pay a
monthly fee which covers meals, maintenance and any extra care
she may need. The fee goes up a small percent yearly based on
The facility is very attractive, there are lots of activities
there, the people are extremely helpful and friendly and the
food is pretty nutritious and tasty.
If you call them they will take you on a tour and invite you for
a meal. They will invite your mother to come and stay at no cost
for 2 days and 2 nights. That was the selling point for my mom
who was convinced she'd hate it. She loved it.
We live in East Richmond, so from our house to Lake Park with no
traffic (hah!) is about a 20 minute ride. On the average,
depending on traffic and the route we take it's more
realistically 30 minutes, but not often more.
My mom's busy enough that I don't have to run over there all the
time to do things for her. The few groceries that she has in
her kitchenette (she eats lunch and dinner in the dining
room,but breakfast in her ''studio apt'') we order from one of the
internet deliveries. She can take East Bay Paratransit to most
place she wants to go.
The thing about Lake Park is you have to be able to live
independantly in order to buy in there. As you need assisted
care or nursing care, it's available but you can't move in
needing those services.
We checked out some places that were rentals rather than buy ins
and the prices were so outrageously high and each extra service
cost extra that we would've used up all our resources in no time.
I'd be happy to talk to you further.
You can call me at 236-9644 or e-mail me.
My mother lives at Redwood Gardens in Berkeley, which I think is
a really nice place for someone on a budget who is fairly mobile
and wants to do their own housekeeping. It is an apartment
complex, not set up for people who need help with cooking and
cleaning. My mother was on a waiting list there for 3 years
before she got an apartment.
My husband's mother has lived at
Claremont House in North Oakland (on 51st St across from Longs &
Safeway.) for about 2 years. She does not cook for herself and
needs someone to clean her place, do her laundry, and check on
her once in a while. Claremont House has a dining room with
pretty good food, and is set up to help people who are not
completely independent. We are pretty happy with it. She was on
the waiting list for only a few months, although when we had
checked into it previously there was a long wait, so I think it
Before Claremont House, my mother-in-law lived at Water's
Edge in Alameda which is a nice place in a very pretty setting,
but it was not as convenient to our home in Berkeley.
I would recommend all three of these places. Redwood Gardens has
many lively and colorful residents, in keeping with its Berkeley
location. Claremont House seems to have a nice mix of all kinds
of older folks, while Water's Edge struck me as more the
silver-haired suburban gramma set!
My mother is looking to move from Santa Clara to Berkeley this summer. She'll
be retiring in a couple of years, and moving back east at that point, so isn't
looking to buy. So, I'm trying to find out what's out there in terms of
cheap/subsidized housing for older folks (she's almost 63). I'm not looking
assisted living or anything, just a place that might be less costly. She very
much wants to be in Berkeley, to be near her one and only grandson. And we
could use the babysitting. Anybody know anything about this, or where to trun
for more info? Thanks. Chris
Re elder care: Four years ago we researched retirement communities for my
mother-in-law, then 76 and healthy but a bit physically frail. There are
three categories: independent living (one's own apartment for
self-sufficient people, but with some services), assisted living (help with
dressing, feeding etc.) and nursing home care. We didn't find any place
that offers what a hale and engaged senior needs now, but also has full
assisted living for the future. Places that offered real assisted living
tended to cater to more frail (read: out of it) people and were depressing
for my elderly but independent mother-in-law. We opted for a place that was
predominantly independent living with limited assisted care in case of
illness or injury. She ended up in Byron Park in Walnut Creek and has been
very happy. It is a large building with individual apartments -- real
apartments, with real (if small) kitchens, unlike many we saw. There is a
dining room that provides lunch and dinner (the rent includes one meal a day
but residents can opt for two), lots of activities for seniors, a shuttle
that takes people in and out of town and to medical appointments, and pull
cords in every room to get emergency help in case of a fall or something.
There is a check-in system (opening the door for the newspaper in the
morning triggers an "okay" signal to the front desk, I think) so the front
desk knows to check up on someone if they have not checked in by 9:00 am or
so. There is a nice pool which is heated to about 90 degrees and a spa. It
is not cheap, but manageable with her pension and savings. I'm sure she
would be happy to speak with your mother about it, and give her a guided
tour. We also liked the Claremont House in Oakland (near Piedmont Avenue),
which has an interesting mix of residents, including many retired Berkeley
professors, but is more urban.
I believe that Piedmont Gardens off of Piedmont Ave. in Oakland is quite
well thought of. It's well located for seniors near lots of amenities
(minimizing driving) and public transportation, too. Worth checking
out, anyway, and they might have other information about other options
for you, too. Wendy
Call the Alameda County Agency on Aging for a list of all senior facilities in
Northern Alameda County. The list includes brief descriptions. You can also
to be put on the mail list for their next Information and Referral
brings together 50-100 reps of senior agencies in the area; then you can
suggestions from them. Also check the local AARP chapter for resources.
In Berkeley, Strawberry is modest cost, independent living, long wait list.
In Oakland, St. Paul's Towers is high-end "life care." You pay $35,000+
on the size of the apt you choose) 'buy-in', then $2000+/month, including 3
maid service, transportation, all medical care, and guarantee of assisted
skilled nursing care and hospitalization (including alzheimers care on
site) for the
rest of your life. Active social calendar.
In San Leandro, Baywood Court. Independent living apts, separate assisted
units, pool, gardens, very active social community run by residents.
Strawberry lodge has a good reputation for senior housing, but I don't know if
they offer "assisted" living. You should avoid the Berkshire House.
a nice physical environment, I found that the only administrator who had a clue
about my mother's well being was the owner, Ms. Arndt. The other people were
completely oblivious to her needs.
It was quite unsettling. There is a really nice place in El Ceritto named"
Royal" (I think). There is a very handy booklet called "Lifestyles" that
lists a lot of
housing for seniors.
We've just spent the last few weeks looking for senior housing for my mother.
She's 87 and lives independantly but may need help as the years pass. There
are many places in the area. I recommend stopping at a local senior center
and picking up a booklet called "New Lifestyles. An Area Guide to Senior
Residences and Care Options for SF Bay." This booklet has every possible
type of situation you could need throughout the area. The phone number to
call is 1-800- 869-9549. It was very helpful to us.
My mother chose a place off of Lake Merritt called Lake Park. They invited
her to stay a night or two (she stayed one night and one day) as their guest
and she fell in love with it and can't wait to go back. She lives in northern
N.H. in a lovely rural town in a big house but is very isolated in the winter
and can't afford the continued upkeep on her house, taxes, etc. She's healthy
and sharp but getting a bit frail.
Some places have what's called Life Care where you buy in and then pay a
monthly fee that never changes even if the care you need changes. Other
places charge monthly rent only. We found some places to be really expensive
and some places to be very depressing and dumpy. Then we found some places
that felt really nice and were willing to do "creative financing" such as
I suggest you pick up this booklet (free) and call places and go see some of
I know there are a few supposedly really nice places in Berkeley.We
didn't look at any of them because we found Lake Park and didn't need to look
further. Good luck.
Claremont House on 51st Street has nice apartments and different levels of
across from the shopping Mall and therefore very convenient for Seniors.
Gardens has a great reputation. For unassisted living: Berkeley Town House has
condo's to buy for seniors only: Dana and Parker. My mother lives there and
also, close to Andronico's and restaurants. If you call Jewish Family
think you could get a full list of places to look at. Good Luck! Dorothea
I recommend Strawberry Creek Lodge at 1320 Addison ST. 510-841-8330. It is
an older building but it is well cared for, has good management, an active
resident population, and an ownership board that cares about the residents.
They have some section 8 slots but there is always a waiting list. check it
out. If they can't accommodate you, they can recommend other senior
buildings in the Oakland area.
this page was last updated: Jul 3, 2014
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network