Have you ever thought about how you might like to spend your elderly years, should you want or need to be in a seniors facility? I have been blessed to have many, many relatives live long lives and most of them lived in independent living, assisted living, or skilled nursing at some point. Some of the very best places were Catholic; it is a real blessing when there is excellent care for seniors and those needing long term care and it’s also a Catholic community.
My grandparents enjoyed living at Dominican Oaks in Santa Cruz for a number of years, close to a decade. It’s a Catholic retirement community for independent seniors (not those needing assisted living or nursing care). Close to Dominican Hospital, and thus also to good medical care, this community also offered daily Mass and was a magnet for Catholics retiring in the Santa Cruz area. I recall seeing many older sisters, brothers, priests, and even a bishop back in the 1990s there. It was my first exposure to Catholic retirement residences, and I thought it did a good job. The only shortcoming, that I could see, is that there was no advanced care available, so many seniors could not move there and simply stay put.
Unfortunately I saw this downside upfront. Since it didn’t offer multiple levels of care, when my grandmother became very ill, Dominican Oaks essentially kicked them out. That was a sad day for my dying grandmother as well as for the rest of the clan. How much easier it would have been had Dominican Oaks had a license for more advanced care (or applied to the state for a waiver, which we later learned was an option). My grandparents moved to Aegis of Aptos for a few weeks. That was heartbreaking as my grandmother kept asking to “go home”. (more…)