Westmont seniors live life on their own terms

Community Relations Director Christi Rundles, seen here in prior years, shares a fun moment with a quartet of diners at Westmont of Brentwood.

Photo by Amy Clair

The search for an assisted living facility can seem daunting.

Knowing what to look for and what to avoid before making a choice can help families feel sure their loved ones are safe and well cared for.

Westmont of Brentwood provides three lifestyle choices – independent living, assisted living and memory care. The facility has 131 apartment-style homes, and the different levels of service mean residents don’t need to leave when they need more support.

“Westmont Living’s team members work tirelessly to foster resident independence while respecting individuality, choice, dignity and privacy,” said Julie Walke, public relations representative for Westmont. “The company takes pride in the ‘Live Your Way’ activities and wellness program that include physical exercise, brain fitness and social events along with lifelong learning.”

Like everything else, COVID-19 has affected operations at Westmont, whose residents face an increased risk from infection.

“Obviously, we follow CDC guidelines, and we are quick to respond should anyone become ill,” said Patrick Frasier, operations specialist. “Within the everyday living of our communities, we find creative ways to keep our residents connected. For instance, one of our communities recently hosted a Classic Car Drive-by Show and food drive.”

Amidst the chaos of a pandemic, Westmont continues to maintain its welcoming exterior, train its staff and engage its residents as safely as possible. For those on the hunt for an assisted living facility, Community Relations Director Tash Santiago listed some things to keep in mind.

“This list is a guideline that we suggest seniors use while looking,” said Santiago. ”If a senior living community does not have these things, our recommendation is for them to keep looking for the right fit.”

Is the building secure and do they follow the recommended CDC guidelines?

Do they screen for signs and symptoms and take the temperature of all people entering the building, including staff and essential medical personnel?

Do they train their staff on personal protective equipment, hand hygiene and practice good respiratory etiquette within the community?

Do they screen new and returning residents for signs and symptoms every shift for 14 days?

Do they limit dining to small groups with good social distancing between residents?

Do they schedule outdoor access to minimize the number of residents and to facilitate social distancing?

Does the staff clean all common areas and touch points on a frequent basis?

How competent is their health support?

Are they licensed to provide health services?

Do they have licensed nurses on staff? 

Does staff receive on-going training especially with regard to Covid-19 precautions? 

Does the building look like a place that you would like to live?

Is the building clean and inviting?

Are staff members friendly and helpful?

Do residents appear happy and engaged? 

Does the community have a fitness center for optimum health and wellness?

Are there multiple exercise classes?

Is therapy after hospitalization available? 

Does the dining program provide the right options?

Are there a variety of appetizing and nutritious options? 

Are special diets accommodated?

Look for heart-healthy choices as well as those rich in anti-oxidants.

“Once you have determined that a particular community is a good fit for your family member, then meet with a community relations person like me to review the payment structure and termination and refund policies,” Santiago added

She also recommended allowing up to one year to search for the perfect facility. Some locations offer short-term stays, allowing your loved one time to get to know the community and its staff.

“Interestingly, some people stay rather than move out again,” said Santiago. “When that happens, it’s a win-win for the seniors and their families.”

Westmont of Brentwood is located at 450 John Muir Parkway in Brentwood. For more information, call 925-516-8006 or visit https://www.westmontliving.com/ca/brentwood/westmont-of-brentwood/index.aspx