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Levels of Care in a Continuing Care Retirement Community

Continuing care retirement communities are catching on among today’s aging adults. Unlike assisted living communities or nursing homes that offer only a single level of care and require folks to move as their needs change, CCRCs fit a range of lifestyles. Residents can start with independent living and move through multiple levels of care all in one place. In this video, be.group residents and staff describe the levels of care offered in a CCRC and the friendships and care it inspires.

To learn more about life in a CCRC, download or subscribe to be.magazine, the magazine for senior living.


Westminster Gardens Resident Throws Aside Walker, Walks Again

Learning to walk again and overcoming osteoporosis and osteoarthritisSlowly, carefully, and with the utmost concentration, Jack Hamm, 84, pushed his walker down the center aisle of Westminster Gardens’ residents meeting. It took him awhile, and he could feel everyone’s eyes following him, but he had something important to say.

When he reached the front, he turned to face his audience, standing tall and strong with a huge grin on his face. “I don’t need this anymore!” he announced, and flung the metal mobility aid across the room with a dramatic flourish.

Even now, he laughs when he thinks of that moment. “I really put on an act,” he chuckles mischievously. “I was hobbling down that aisle!”

It’s a big change from the days before he arrived at Westminster Gardens, the be.group community in Duarte, Calif.

Osteoarthritis, osteoporosis take toll on mobility

After 42 years as a master machinist, Jack spent the first 15 years of his retirement perfecting his golf swing. He and his wife Dottie still lived in the Pasadena, Calif., bungalow where they raised their six children. But over time, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and years of working on his feet eventually made golfing, and even standing or walking, increasingly difficult. He’d had one knee replaced and six operations to replace cartilage in his hands before Dottie fell and broke her ankle about five years ago.

Given the steps in their home, their daughter suggested that he and Dottie look for a new place to live. Jack wasn’t too keen on the idea until they drove through the front gate at Westminster Gardens. All the residences were single-story, and Dottie fell in love with the garden homes. They moved in shortly after their visit.

As part of their orientation, all new residents come into the community’s clinic for a full assessment of any physical challenges they have that may require additional support. Community staff can then immediately connect them with helpful activities or therapies.

Regaining strength

Letting his social nature take the lead, Jack quickly immersed himself in Westminster Gardens’ many activities and outings, from workouts and swimming to entertainment or just making the rounds at dinner to chat with his fellow residents. Today, he runs the resident meetings and is planning the community’s second annual Oktoberfest celebration.

Reg Webster, fitness director at White Sands La Jolla, be.group’s sister residence in La Jolla, Calif.,  says such social opportunities can be as much of a mobility boost for residents as the community’s formal classes, physical therapy or expert care. “The fact that the resident wants to be a part of the community as independently as possible results in more physical activity,” he explains. Residents walk to dinner together as well as sharing social activities, outings and wellness programs because “they want to make the most of their surroundings,” he says. Strength and mobility are byproducts.

Jack had his second knee replaced about six months after he moved to Westminster Gardens, and today he has a three-wheeled walker he pulls out for day trips when he knows he’ll be standing or walking for awhile. In a few months he’ll have both hips replaced and hopes to put even the three-wheeler permanently aside after that. “I’ll tap dance for the talent show [next year],” he promises with another laugh. “That’s my goal.”

For mobility tips from Reg Webster, read “Q&A: How Can I Get My Mobility Back?” on our sister site, MySilverAge.

—By Jessica Royer Ocken


‘Tis the Season to Give at be.group

White Sands Luncheon

be.group residents and team members have embraced the holiday spirit of giving in a variety of ways, from arranging food drives to hosting a Christmas party for homeless children. Here’s just a small sampling.

be.group Home Office

Thanksgiving HO

On Thursday, home office team members helped the Salvation Army in Glendale with its annual Christmas Toy Distribution event. More than a dozen team members joined hundreds of volunteers to pass out toys to parents who are struggling to provide gifts for their kids. Last month, team members filled 25 overflowing Thanksgiving baskets for Glendale-area families.

Kirkwood Orange

Kirkwood Orange Senior Team LeadersKirkwood Orange team members adopted a family of five for the holiday through Friends & Helpers, a nonprofit that supports families that are escaping violent and abusive situations. Team members granted the gift wishes of a single father and his four kids.

Regents Point

Regents Point Toy Drive

Regents Point residents and team members have been collecting toys and other gifts for the Irvine 2/11 Marine Adoption Committee, which is a citywide effort to support Marines and families of the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines. Team members are also working with the Orange County Council on Aging’s Smile Makers Guild to collect holiday gifts for seniors who have no family or friends and are living alone.

Royal Oaks

Royal Oaks Food DriveTo help needy families in the Foothill area, Royal Oaks residents and team members began their food drive on Thanksgiving—collecting everything from hearty canned soups to baby formula. Many are also purchasing gifts for local children through the Angel Gift program.

Sycamore Terrace

Sycamore Terrace Luncheon

Residents and team members from Sycamore Terrace, a be.group affordable housing community in Upland, took lunch over to the local fire department to show their appreciation.

Westminster Gardens

Wesminster Gardens Holiday CookiesWith homemade cookies in hand, Westminster Gardens residents Margaret Hullinger and Bee Evans thanked the Duarte Fire Department for keeping the community safe.

White Sands La Jolla

White Sands Holiday Luncheon

White Sands La Jolla hosted a special luncheon for 16 young guests ages two to five from St. Vincent de Paul Village, a nonprofit that aids homeless families. The kids enjoyed a holiday performance by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Spiderman, Cinderella and Belle; they also enjoyed a special visit from Santa, who was weighed down with a huge gift bag.



be.group communities ranked among best in senior living


top-rated-largebe.group communities Regents Point in Irvine and Westminster Gardens in Duarte received top honors as two of the best senior living communities in their metropolitan markets.

SeniorHomes.com, a Seattle-based online senior living directory and resource, released its 2013 list of top-rated senior communities in nearly 20 major regions on Nov. 19. Regents Point ranked among the 14 best communities in Orange County, while Westminster Gardens was one of 15 top-rated communities in L.A. County.

In making its assessments, SeniorHomes.com reviewed state inspection data, resident and family reviews, and gathered information from more than 200 senior living professionals including social workers, home care professionals and hospice care staff.

Regents Point and Westminster Gardens staff “should be commended for their dedication to excellence,” said Chris Rodde, CEO of SeniorHomes.com, in a written statement. “[Both communities], along with the other Best Senior Living Awards recipients, are setting the bar for what truly great senior communities should provide to their residents.”


Castle Argyle is Back in Lights

Castle Argyle Sign

Castle Argyle, one of be.group’s 26 affordable housing communities, celebrated last week the renovation of the classic neon sign that stands atop the historic building.

Thanks to L.T. Electric, the Hollywood Heritage Organization and independent contractor Paul Greenstein, the neon sign was restored back to its original style. This is the virtual cherry on top of other upgrades recently completed at the Hollywood community, including new carpeting, tile and furniture.

Built in 1928, Castle Argyle was once home to Hollywood celebrities including Clark Gable, Howard Hughes and Cecil B. DeMille.  Alfred G. Castles, a flamboyant doctor from Chicago, purchased and developed the seven-story building. In 1996, be.group bought the 98-unit complex and converted it into affordable housing.

Check out the sign restoration here:




be.group team member receives Duarte Kiwanis Club Service Award

Doug Edwards

Team member Doug Edwards

Congratulations to Rev. Doug Edwards, be.group’s director of church outreach, for receiving the Service Award at the Duarte Kiwanis Club installation dinner last month. He was recognized for his extensive work with Duarte’s youth over the last eight years. He served as co-moderator for the Duarte Youth & Family Master Plan. He also helped Westminster Gardens residents to start the LAUNCH tutoring program within the Duarte Unified School District, and he advised the school district in the development of its own mentoring program that began this fall. In September, Edwards was appointed by a unanimous vote of board members to fill an unexpired term on the Duarte Unified School Board.

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