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Moving into a Retirement Home
updated: May 04, 2014, 12:34 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

My dad lives in NorCal and has had several strokes which have caused vision and memory problems (he will be 81 in July). I would like to help facilitate a move down here into a retirement facility with some independent living but also services like cleaning and cooking. It seems IMPOSSIBLE to get information on the cost of any of the places in town without signing up for a consult and big sales pitch.

Are there any elder services around that give the details on the available homes in the area and their cost, etc.?

What do others do when moving an elder in with them is not an option (we live in a 2/1 with a young child)?

I'd like to hear what other people have experienced around Goleta/SB. Friendship Manor was one of the website I checked out. No information on cost.

Just throwing it out there for some input! THANKS!!

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 516379 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 12:41 PM

Stay out of Isla Vista!!! (I'd recommend they stay out of Santa Barbara entirely, with a high cost of living and poor public safety records, but that's just my $0.02.)


 COMMENT 516380 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 12:43 PM

My mother is at Cliffview Terrace which is a nice facility without being exhorbitatantly expensive and it is conveniently located.


 COMMENT 516382 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 12:47 PM

Villa Santa Barbara is not too expensive. Good location.


 CARPSTER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 12:50 PM

My mother lived in Villa Santa Barbara for several years and it was a pleasant place for her. Visit places, walk around, talk to residents, have meal and see which place suits your needs. Good luck.


 COMMENT 516385 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 12:53 PM

I suggest you contact the Center for Successful Aging. They have wonderful volunteers and can give you the name of a service that can assist you finding appropriate housing for your father. The service is cost free, as they earn a commission from the residences. Some places have long waiting lists, especially for memory care. Wood glen Hall is the least expensive and has month to month contract. It's very nice but is not continuing care, necessitating a move eventually. Continuing care places will range $5000-$7000/ month plus hefty buy in fee.


 SBSWEETPEA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 12:56 PM

A couple of years ago I looked at moving my Dad from. No. Cal. also but couldn't be cause he had Kaiser for health care.I was seriously considering Villa Santa Barbara.
Was not too super expensive.


 COMMENT 516388P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 01:00 PM

Your local library should have a free, 115-page paperback called the Senior Resource Directory for Santa Barbara County, 2012-2014. It's put out by the local Area Agency on Aging. Loads of information. Cover is dark green.


 COMMENT 516391 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 01:13 PM

When my parents could no longer live on their own (dementia and physical ailments), I went through the same process of trying to find a place. I would like to suggest that you check out Lompoc Skilled and Rehab Facility in Lompoc. It is a very good, clean facility and usually have open beds because of the size. They take cash payers, and also take Medi-Cal - the nice thing is there is no class distinction between cash and Medi- Cal patients. The staff is skilled and caring. I couldn't have found a better facility for my parents.

They have a website - lompocsrc dot com


 COMMENT 516394 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 01:19 PM

I just had to place my grandmother in assisted living. I placed her at Valle Verde. Every doctor and nurse that I've spoke with since has said that it is the best place, and I made a good choice.


 COMMENT 516401 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 01:48 PM

Valle Verde asserted living is excellent, the best. However, one has to has considerable means available to enroll. The Health Centre there I believe do take a percent of Medi Cal and Medicare patients so one can be lucky if a room is available..


 COMMENT 516410 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 02:15 PM

I have heard nothing but negative remarks about most assisted living facilities in our area and only good things about Valle Verde. The place is worth looking into.


 COMMENT 516416 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 02:28 PM

I highly recommend Peggy Renker; her services are free:

Peggy Renker
Placement Consultant

Senior Living Consultants, Inc
18 W. Micheltorena, Ste. C
Santa Barbara, CA 93101


 COMMENT 516426 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 03:00 PM

All CENTER FOR SUCCESSFUL AGING programs are free. They offer individual and group counseling for seniors, and the CareLine seniors' telephone reassurance program.

SENIOR LIVING CONSULTANTS helps with placement recommendations. Their services are free to clients. They earn a commission from facilities when clients are placed.


 COMMENT 516437 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 03:21 PM

Ditto what 388p said but you can download it. Google SB co unty senior resource directory. It's a great resource and shoul be your starting point without a doubt. I care for my elderly parents and it has been so helpful.


 COMMENT 516441P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 03:30 PM

Just adding my hopefully unnecessary voice: YES to these amazing resources:

Senior Resource Directory

Peggy Rankin

Contact S Coast Alzh Assoc. if appropriate; they're in the same building as Center Success. Aging in SB:
1528 Chapala

Best to all of you


 COMMENT 516443 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 03:32 PM

**NOTE that this is an experience from 15 or more years ago so take it with a grain salt!!

Costly entrance fee at that time as others have mentioned but I guess "you can't take it with you." is an appropriate thought.

She started in a self contained apartment which was part of 2 units with separate entrances on ground floor and convenient to the parking lot when since she was still driving at the time.

Then moved to an assisted living unit, part of a large number along the same hallway after being Cottage Hospital for a week.

She had another medical issue and was in their infirmary for a week and a half before dying.

Her diamond wedding ring "disappeared" while she was in the infirmary so that's something to be aware of and remove from the family member's finger.


 COMMENT 516447P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 03:48 PM

I hope everyone who uses these resources gives them even 5-10 bucks, let alone what you can, of course $100 is better. Yes, they're free, but compare their services to the price of training, counseling, advice and/or therapy and help them out!


 COMMENT 516459 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 04:37 PM

I researched places a couple of years ago for my parents. My dad refused to move into an "old folks home" so he stayed in his own home (and died after falling off the roof!).

Anyway - you mentioned Friendship Manor. It's one of the least expensive places. It's funky, but has some fun characters around. I think one needs to be pretty independent to live there.

I toured all of the aforementioned places (and more) and came to the conclusion that Villa Santa Barbara was the best fit for us. It seemed to be a nice blend of independent apartment living with medical care available when needed. Great location for walking to movies, etc. too!

It was around $4000/month for a 2 br apt. which was less expensive than many.


 COMMENT 516470 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 05:44 PM

Try to move into a bigger apartment and keep them at home. From experience, and I don't want to be insensitive. Your love one will die sooner than they would living at home with you. Something as little as bed sores can kill them.


 COMMENT 516477P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 06:46 PM

Do not move him to Mission Terrace or any other facility that is owned/operated by Eve Murphy & her husband.

This woman cares for only one person - herself & her back account.

Check local SB court records & you will see there have been numerous out of court settlements where she & her businesses have been accused of everything under the sun when it come to elder abuse & shoddy administration of convalescent / retirement facilities. It all started out up in the SF Bay area of Oakland years ago.


 COMMENT 516497 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 08:43 PM

My mom is doing well at Vista Del Monte. They don't have an entry fee but charge a room renovation fee of around $6000 prior to move in. We called and visited many of the most popular facilities and got quite a bit of information in advance. None of the tours were high pressure sales pitches, they were very helpful and informative. If your father requires assistance he may need to have a health assessment, including psychological evaluation, before acceptance.

We didn't get the chance to work with them, but senior living consultants was recommended to us.


 COMMENT 516505P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 09:32 PM

497 - Yikes! $6000 for the "renovation" of a room?

Are they completely demolishing it to the studs & installing gold plated plumbing fixtures?!

This seems way steep. A fresh coat of paint, new carpet & a thorough cleaning can't run $6000.


 COMMENT 516506P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 10:05 PM

I've known many people who enjoyed living at Friendship Manor.
If your dad is a veteran and he served during a time of war, there is a VA program called Aid & Attendance that might be able to provide the additional funds for first-class care.
It helped us with a relative with dementia whom we were able to place in a small family-setting board-and-care home.
Here's a link to a non-profit with info about the application process:
There was a discussion about this on Edhat about a year or so ago.


 COMMENT 516515P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-05 06:52 AM

We had a family member at Vista del Monte; no complaints at all. Good luck!


 QUEENDI agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-05 07:31 AM

Try The Peppers in Montecito (Hot Springs Road). My mother-in-law received wonderful care there and it was reasonably priced on lovely grounds.


 COMMENT 516541 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-05 08:06 AM

I moved my parents here from a small town in Upstate New York 10 years ago. Each of us 6 siblings looked for retirement places in our respective areas (Boston, Ithaca, NC and NYC) and unbelievably Maravilla, here in SB on Calle Real, was the least expensive with the best facilities (2 of our main criteria). Maravilla's "buy-in" was cheaper (at the time, not sure what it is now), by far, than everywhere else we kids investigated (even the retirement community in their small, working class hometown), and the grounds, amenities, support and activities were far superior (including others here in town). My father passed 4+ years ago (Alzheimers) and my mother just turned 86 and still loves living there because it is quiet, close and comfortable and she has made a lot of dear friends from participating in the active social community there.


 COMMENT 516548P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-05 08:19 AM

Senior Planning Services is outstanding!


 COMMENT 516575 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-05 09:53 AM

Only way is to check them out. My Dad ended up at Maravilla. I heard Heritage House is really great! Maravilla is very nice, but pricy! Thank goodness for long term care ins.


 COMMENT 516583P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-05 10:27 AM

OP here: Thank you for all of this information, everyone. I am printing out a lot of it so that I don't forget anything. We own our tiny townhouse and caregiving my father is not an option for me with my own health issues and a young child. My dad WAS in the service during the Korean War so we will look into that. And, 575...you actually are getting long term care insurance to cover Maravilla?? My dad has long term care insurance but it seems that he would need to be almost entirely unable to care for himself in any way before it would kick in?? As it is, he can still feed himself and read books...things that I have heard LTCins considers enough to NOT pay out.


 COMMENT 516625 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-05 01:08 PM

Vista del Monte is pretty good.....the have 3 levels of care/living...independent which may beyond consideration(I'm sorry), assisted--which is excellent, and finally a "skilled nursing" unit which is essentially a hospital room.

I don't recall a renovation fee when my mother moved in there. The care in assisted living is excellent and the facility has an intimate and homey feeling to it. There is no buy-in, but there is a waiting list with residents who need to move from independent living to assisted living receiving priority.

While there is no place like home, we have been pleased with Vista del Monte.....


 COMMENT 516629 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-05 01:25 PM

Depending on your dad's income, some of his expenses will be tax deductible if he is in assisted living. If he is on the cusp of needing assisted care, some places may allow him to move in to an independent living unit with hourly help added in to the fee.

One thing we didn't anticipate when we moved our mom was the tremendous disorientation she experienced with the move. Her memory and functioning got worse during the first few months then began to improve. Be sure to involve your father as much as possible in the decisions to help him feel he is part of the plan


 COMMENT 516643 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-05 02:18 PM

With baby boomers ( I am 58) coming in 10 or 20 years this will be interesting.
It might be a good day to live it up now? In lieu of the forecast-ed costs and needs. Look's like 75K,plus..a year, for these care places.

I wonder what the percentage of elders end up in these places as opposed to in home care and or not needing anyplace or help till the end?

Maybe the last years in Central America on the cheap?


 COMMENT 516649 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-05 02:44 PM

Spend your money now while you can still enjoy it, you are not taking it with you. There is no reward for being responsible. If you are broke Medicaid pays and you are treated just as well as a paying patient. Not sure how this is going to work with the vast number of boomers though.


 COMMENT 516671 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-05 03:42 PM

I have had a lot of experience with two in-laws and my mom needing various care levels in SB over the last 10 years. The primary problem with all 3 was that they deteriorated over time and had to move.

For younger people with no sign of dementia or need for wheelchair I recommend Wood Glen. It was about half the cost of other places - although small rooms.

Villa Santa Barbara looked OK until dementia was discovered just before moving in.

Moving to Vista del Monte was also out because of the priority for alzheimer's patients to come from with Vista residents. But at the time that seemed to be the best value for all 3 care levels.

Maravilla was fine until my father-in-law needed a wheelchair.

I only visited Heritage House but my impression is it is primarily dementia patients.

I was determined to put my mom in a place that had all skill levels so she started at Vista del Monte in assisted living. Cost for large studio was about $6000/mo two years ago and I think there was an additional fee around $5000-$6000 for the move in. We were told that she could stay there for life - even if she and I ran out of money Medicaid would kick in so that was comforting. However, when she needed a wheelchair and she became incontinent they would not allow her to stay in assisted living. The skilled nursing is terrible for people who are still with it. Everyone has dementia and you share a bed AND a bath room. So we moved her to the best 6 bed house in town - Abundant Care on Auhay Drive. They have 4 houses that are all nice but this one is especially spacious, modern and has nice garden. With 6 beds you usually have a few people who can't communicate and a few who can. The cost was about the same as Vista - $6000/mo for a smaller but nice room.


 COMMENT 516685 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-05 04:19 PM

Heritage House has all types of clients. There is a dementia wing which is locked but my mother has memory issues and does not reside in that area since she is not a wanderer. The cost is based on how dependent they are. It's about $5,000 to $6,000 per month. It is very clean, does not smell like old folks or cleaning supplies. Everyone is very nice. It's smaller, with a max of about 65 people so it's very personal.


 COMMENT 516698 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-05 05:12 PM

As a Senior Move Manager here in Santa Barbara and founder of Senior Relocation Services (SantaBarbaraRelocationServices - online) I highly recommend you contact Peggy Renker. She is a senior placement consultant and her services are free.

Peggy Renker
Senior Living Consultants, Inc
18 W. Micheltorena, Ste. C
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
SeniorLivingConsultants - online


 COMMENT 516756P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-06 07:06 AM

Again, thank you all! Sounds like Peggy really knows her stuff. I still don't exactly "get it"...who has $6k/month? We live on less than that as a family of 3. My dad is retired from the schools. I'm going to need to look into the Vet stuff and the long term care insurance. Someone also mentioned Kaiser...which is another problem that we have. He has had NorCal Kaiser for 50 years. They hijack your Medicare and make it sound like you can never leave them. Sad that we have to think this way...but I'm hoping to leave this earth swiftly, with my mind still (mostly) intact, and never become my son's "problem." Sigh.


 COMMENT 516838 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-06 11:47 AM

Since I haven't saved anything for long term care, I'm going with the living in my own home and falling off the roof plan. It seems like a better way to go than slowly declining and bankrupting my family.

One of these days the US will have to decide if we want to take care of our elders or continue spending more on defense than all of the other nations in the world, combined.


 COMMENT 516839 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-06 11:47 AM

You may want to expand your search out of Santa Barbara to Ventura (Kaiser presence and many veterans). We were determined to keep our mom in Santa Barbara so her friends could visit and she could be in familiar surroundings. However once they are in need of significant assistance they hardly get out at all and the friend visits taper off significantly.

That's alarming that Vista Del Monte requires wheelchair users to live in skilled nursing. Considering how prone the elderly are to falls it seems inevitable they will spend some time in a wheelchair.


 COMMENT 516845P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-06 12:11 PM

Staying at home with caregivers is twice as expensive adn if you outlive your money it's medicaid.. I'm not going to get that old either, after living with it and seeing it.


 COMMENT 517030 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-07 07:47 AM

Skilled nursing is overkill. Sign and Advance Directive saying no tubes or extraordinary measures. A board and care and hospice can see you to the end. 7000/month is outrageous and unnecessary.


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