“More and more, independent living facilities are becoming increasingly popular with seniors who can still get around and do things but don’t want the bother of taking care of a big home,” said Ken Dunn, assistant manager at Quail Lodge in Antioch. “Places like this become their home and everything is taken care of for them. They have more time for themselves and can still be independent.”
The reasons for choosing a retirement community are as individual as they are varied, but for many seniors, the allure of a facility that provides meals, housekeeping and even laundry – while offering onsite salons and exercise rooms, off-site transportation and an active social calendar – is hard to resist.
“We call ourselves a cruise ship on land,” said Laurie Saari, sales counselor at Cortona Park in Brentwood. “We’re a service industry and we’re all about the needs of the client. We’re about making their lives as comfortable as we can. We’re like a five-star hotel.”
Retirement communities typically offer independent and assisted-care living plus additions or variations tailored to their residents’ needs. Independent living is designed for seniors –typically 55 and up – who are ambulatory and able to take care of day-to-day needs such as bathing and dressing. Assisted care is for more frail individuals, who need a degree of daily assistance and personalized care such as medication management. Both options, however, come with housekeeping, meals and utilities figured into the monthly rent. Costs for independent living apartments can average from $1,600 to $4,500 per month, depending upon the community and apartment size. Assisted care averages an additional $800 to $1,000 more per month.
When Bill and Donna Foster began considering a move from Brentwood’s Summerset community into an independent living facility, their main concern was quality of life. The active couple had always been involved in the community, but as Donna began to deal with health problems, the logistics of their lives began to change. For them, the answer was Eskaton Lodge in Brentwood.
“We came to Eskaton because Donna’s doctor told her that because of her back injury, she needed to stop cooking and doing laundry and yard work,” said Bill, 78. “For us it was about quality of life, and that’s what we got here.”
“We have good activities here,” added Donna. “And lots of things to do. The staff is wonderful and very caring. We love it here.”
So whether it’s independent living, assisted care or more comprehensive nursing that’s needed, most retirement communities offer the opportunity to upgrade your services as your needs change.
“What’s nice for seniors here,” said Saari, “is that because we offer assisted and independent living, as most facilities do, it allows residents to age in place. As they get older and require more help with the activities of daily living, you can stay where you are and get the services you need.
“The biggest misconception about retirement communities is that it’s a nursing home and they are coming here to die. But of course it’s completely the opposite. They’re not giving up their independence; they’re just giving up the day-to-day work of running a home. We do it all for them.”
Quail Lodge is located at 4850 Deer Valley Road in Antioch. For more information, call 925-234-4968. Eskaton Lodge, 450 John Muir Parkway in Brentwood, can be reached at 925-516-4968. Cortona Park in Brentwood is located at 150 Cortona Way. For additional information, call 925-240-0733.