Sitting in the restaurant at AgeSong at Lake Merritt, I felt like I was in one of the nicest restaurants in the Bay area. The restaurant overlooks Oakland’s finest view of the lake, which, I learned, is really a large tidal lagoon, surrounded by parkland, a walking path running along its perimeter, and within walking distance of magnificent lake-shore establishments. Located in what was formerly an elegant hotel, the restaurant is now booked for special occasions, such as engagement parties and charity events, and also on a daily basis by the residents of the 46 independent living, luxurious apartments.
The restaurant is located in a historic building owned by Randy and Cheryl Berger. The building has a sense of history, yet has been lovingly renovated on a continual basis for the over 20 years. For those who expect and deserve excellent food (don’t we all?), the restaurant is run by Heidi Berger, Randy and Cheryl’s daughter, who has created a menu and atmosphere that is unequaled in residences of independent living. One of the special things about AgeSong at Lake Merritt in that the residents are not isolated. Randy notes, “The public comes into their home in some respects. They are in touch with the outside world. The restaurant might have a group of 20-somethings hanging out at the bar while a business dinner is going on, and a group of elders are socializing at dinner as well. We now have rather popular brunches on Saturdays and Sundays as well, that feature great food, views, and bottomless Mimosas.”
Randy informed me that the city of Oakland is the fifth most desirable place to go in the world, according to a January 8, 2012 article in the New York Times, entitled The 45 Places to Go in 2012. For those of us approaching our elder years, who dream of living within walking distance from a healthy local market (nearby Whole Food Store is #1 in the country), close to nature (a four-acre park is being built within walking distance from the building), and near a public library, outdoor cafes, museums, and educational opportunities, this is a prime location. AgeSong at Lake Merritt is a fiercely independent lifestyle community that is designed for people who want to stay engaged in life. Located in a grand Art Deco building, this vibrant community offers diverse programs, services, and amenities that support the mind, body, and spirit. Wireless Internet access, digital cable TV, full-size stainless steel refrigerator, gas stove, and microwave, personalized scheduled transportation, and pets welcome are only a few of the amenities provided.
Unlike most models of elderly living, this independent community does not have assisted living and skilled care in the building. If residents need care, they can contract with a home care company to bring in care partners (paid caregivers). If residents become ill (i.e, are hospitalized or in a temporary rehabilitation facility), when they feel better, they can resume living in their residence at AgeSong Lake Merritt.
The unique way AgeSong can provide continual care is that, if and when residents or couples need more extensive care, they can move to another of AgeSong’s state-of-the art locations, temporarily or for an extended period of time, such as the two closest: (a) AgeSong at Bayside Park, only a 10-minute drive from Lake Merritt, which provides independent, supportive, and assisted living services, along with forgetfulness care and specialized behavioral and emotional care, and (b) AgeSong at Lakeside Park, only steps from Lake Merritt in Oakland. AgeSong at Lakeside Park caters specifically to those who no longer communicate using mainstream language and behaviors. As at Bayside Park, professional and caring staff members and interns work with residents, family members, friends, and health care providers to design programs that best meet each resident’s particular needs.
When crossing the country to join our family for the holidays becomes too much, when we come to a point in our lives when we want to be nearer to our loved ones, and yet near cultural amenities, when we want to replace snowy winters with the temperate climate of the San Francisco Bay area, when we are still independent, and want to partake fully in life, but not just on the golf course, AgeSong Lake Merritt is the place to live.
Dr. Sally Gelardin
AgeSong Journalist and Reporter
AgeSong at Lake Merritt | 1800 Madison Street, Oakland, California 94612 | 510-903-3600
AgeSong Retirement Communities: Locations throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco and the East Bay: San Francisco-Hayes Valley • San Francisco-Laguna Grove • Oakland-Lake Merritt • Oakland-Lakeside Park • Emeryville-Bayside Park • Castro Valley-OakCreek