I am something of an expert on assisted living properties. If you have both parents alive into their late 80s, you too will become an expert on this industry.
My parents were living at a large senior living property on the east coast, and I was doing everything I could to make their lives better – scheduling doctor’s appointments, scheduling taxis, flying back on Jet Blue’s redeye, etc – but the trend was not my friend; my parents needed me.
I had said multiple times that they should come out to California, and one day my father said “Maybe that makes sense.”
That was a year ago. It was time to do some fast – but thorough – research. The perfect facility would offer assisted living for my father, and memory care for mom. I researched aggressively, visiting Wind Chime of Marin, Aegis of Corte Madera, Aegis of San Rafael, Alma Via of San Rafael, Atria-Tamalpais Creek, Sunrise of Petaluma, and one or two others I’m forgetting. Some I visited a few times. I never called before visiting; I just showed-up.
As opinionated as I am, I had difficulty ranking them best to worst. Yeah, one of the facilities made a poor impression, but any property can have a bad day. It’s hard to measure what really matters – the care they provide.
Actually cost was also hard to measure. Some properties have a non-refundable buy-in payment; others have monthly surcharges that are added as the resident needs more help. (I had been warned about these – a property can get very expensive very quickly.)
I was down to two possibilities – Alma Via of San Rafael or Atria-Tamalpais Creek – when someone from hospice mentioned Creekwood Senior Living, in Novato. Dang – I had visited the property just across the street, but not even noticed Creekwood. So I drove back up to Novato, and did my surprise drop-in.
Here’s what was different: almost all the residents were out in Creekwood’s common area when I walked in the door. At all the other properties I visited, it seemed to be just the healthy seniors that I saw in the common areas. So where were the unhealthy ones? There seem to be two possibilities: they were left in their rooms, or they had been asked to move-out, since they were no longer profitable, and/or didn’t help the property’s image.
Remember, the trend is not our friend. You don’t want your loved one left in his/her room, or asked to move, as his/her needs increase. And you don’t want to go broke, if the property’s angle is to add fees for every nuance of care.
If you/your loved one is still active, choose one of the properties packed with healthy seniors that you can play tennis with. But if you/your loved one needs care, make sure to visit Creekwood.
When you evaluate any property I recommend looking for:
- fair, no-surprises pricing
- single-level properties (waiting for elevators is a drag)
- big, active common areas
- plenty of parking (It makes it easier to visit, knowing that you will never have to hunt for parking!)
I moved my parents to Creekwood in late November, 2012. I’ve visited there… jeez – scores of times. I have no regrets, it’s the best decision I’ve made in a long long time. I only wish that I got my parents out here earlier…”
– Bill Fridl
“The exceptional staff at Creekwood provided professional and compassionate care to our beloved mother and granny! We both would recommend Creekwood for your family member!”
– Bebe RN and Reva MSRD
“I want to thank the entire staff for the world class care that was provided to my mother who lived in Creekwood for 4 years until her passing. The care and attention she received was extraordinary, and she was fortunate to receive Hospice care until the end at your facility.
My mother was bedridden the last year of her life and both my brother, who is a doctor, and I as well as the Hospice staff was impressed with the care. My mother never did have any bed sores or discomfort.
Thank you again from my entire family, and I will gladly recommend your facility to anyone in need of assisted living at any stage in their health!”
– Al Dugan (Novato, CA)
“The most lasting memory I have from all of you was whenever I saw you, one of the first things you said to me was “How’s your Mom?”
“Mom received excellent care from Creekwood for her entire stay, especially during her final days!”
Peace and Love from
– Steve Larsen and Klara
“To all the staff of Creekwood,
Bill and I are so appreciative of all you did to ensure that the last 20 months of our Aunt Phoebe’s life was filled with theloving care she so deserved. We always felt so welcome during our visits to Novato and Creekwood. And that’s definitely due to the on-going effort you’ve made to establish such an outstanding Senior/Care facility.
Our thanks too for hosting families/friends today to remember the many who’d passed this past year. I so wish we could have attended, but Nick shared this evening how very meaningful the afternoon truly was. In talking, he recapped all that had taken place and he specifically mentioned how nice it was that personally greeted him.
Creekwood will definitely be remembered in a positive way.”
Our Best to You,
– Pat and Bill Heath
“Thank you!!!! You’re all wonderful and your professional, understanding, and compassionate care during the process is deeply and greatly appreciated!”
– Jeannie, RN- Family of Shirley Karel
“John and I are so grateful to EACH of you for your compassion, kindness, good humor, diligence, close attention to detail and general expertise in caring for my mother during these last difficult months of her life. She had clearly grown fond of many of her caregivers, as have we. We will miss seeing you.
I hope you all take pride in your local reputation for providing high quality care. In the course of handling my mother’s affairs, we keep running into people who comment on the exceptional staff at Creekwood. The work you folks do is important and you have our sincere gratitude, admiration and respect. I will happily add my voice to sing your praises at every opportunity.”
Best regards to all,
– Pamela Kirkpatrick
“The staff and all the caregivers were so patient, caring and kindhearted to my mom, that we will never forget how wonderfully she was taken care of. Creekwood is a wonderful place for the elderly and I will certainly pass your name to friends that are looking for care for a loved one. Thank you so much. We will miss you!”
– Nancy Ferretti