By Doni Chamberlain June 2, 2017
The VIP event at Oakmont of Redding Thursday at 2150 Bechelli Lane was about as fancy an event as typically graces my fair city of Redding.
Oakmont of Redding describes itself as a premier, world-class luxury senior community, and its VIP gala exceeded those descriptions.
Valet parking? Check.
Servers at the threshold holding trays of Champagne with floating raspberries in flutes embossed with Oakmont? Check.
Oysters on the half shell and pizza ovens churning out gourmet pizzas? Check. Check.
Trays of liquor-infused chocolate-dipped strawberries? Check.
Staff serving Guinness floats, and even an elaborate tropical fruit display with an “Oakmont” hand-carved melon as its centerpiece? Double check.
Servers passing out an array of appetizers? Check.
Little passport books to be stamped throughout the tour of the building? Check.
Live piano jazz being played on the patio? Check.
Even a symphony-quality harpist, for Pete’s sake? Check.
Since the beginning of May, Oakmont of Redding staff members have held dozens of tours and meet-and-greets with hundreds of guests – including many prospective residents – to familiarize people with an upscale senior and memory-care facility unlike anything that’s ever graced the north state. Oakmont of Redding feels so much like a five-star hotel that it shatters all “old folks home” stereotypes to smithereens.
But despite its obvious plushness and good taste, Oakmont of Redding remains an assisted living and memory care facility designed to adapt to residents’ needs, whether physical or mental.
The 88,098 square foot facility features 59 assisted living and 33 memory care apartment homes, all with 10-foot-high ceilings.
Situated on north Bechelli Lane upon the bluffs of the Sacramento River, Oakmont of Redding has sweeping western vistas that capture a trio of Redding bridges: Cypress, Highway 44 and the Sundial.
The 92-unit Oakmont of Redding caters to a range of needs, from independent, active-lifestyle seniors who still have jobs and cars, to those who require assistance with everything from mobility to memory care.
Oakmont of Redding is part of the Oakmont Senior Living family, a recognized leader in the retirement industry, having planned and developed more than 40 retirement communities in the western United States.
Thursday’s event was attended by everyone from Redding City Council members and local politicians to the real stars, the facility’s first residents, some of whom gave mini tours.
I caught up with Lorene Bower, Oakmont’s executive director, outside the facility’s movie theater, and asked how many events she’d hosted recently. She didn’t even have to think about it.
“Twenty-five in May alone,” she said with a smile.
Granted, I didn’t see every inch of the facility, but A News Cafe.com photographer Steve DuBois covered an impressive about amount of square footage, both inside and out. He returned with photos of not just the exquisitely decorated dining rooms, manicured grounds, tastefully adorned lobby and model apartments, but also raised-bed flower and vegetable gardens, a beauty parlor, a spa with a massage table, a laundry facility, walking paths, and even a movie theater, complete with leather chairs outfitted with cup holders. “Casa Blanca” was playing – free popcorn, soda and candy for everyone. (Sorry, we can’t post all the photos. Too many. This page would never load.)
One of my favorite parts of Oakmont of Redding was the small aviary in the memory care area.
And I appreciated the practical details that didn’t lose sight of aesthetics, such as the wood ledges in hallways that look like an architectural detail, but are intended as hand rails for those who aren’t as steady on their feet as they once were.
Steve joked and said the only thing he could see lacking at Oakmont was a light-rail system to shuttle residents around. Point taken.
From 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday Oakmont was abuzz with people checking out the place from the bottom floor to the top, inside and outside. They took tours (filling in those passport books for a chance to win something in a drawing), listened to music, and sampled food and drink prepared by executive chefs. Nary a paper plate was in sight.
The most-frequently overheard word of the night? “Wow.”
Soon, executive director Bower’s calendar will be free of grand openings, group tours, informational luncheons and meet-and-greets. Then, she can get down to the business of executive directing.
Likewise, the residents can settle down to a more quiet pace; a lovely space where they can enjoy their new home, whether in the 400-square foot “Alder” studio with a modest kitchenette, or the two-bedroom, two-bathroom 1,192-square-foot “Sequoia” apartment with spacious closets and a full kitchen.
The current rates range from between $4,195 per month for the Alder to $6,295 per month for the Sequoia. In the memory-care wing prices range from $2,995 to $4,195 per month.
There’s a charge of $850 per month for a second person.
In addition to gourmet meals, laundry, cleaning, concierge and chauffeur services, there’s an on-site wellness center and a full-time R.N., as well as a fitness center, day spa, pet park, bistro, activity room, and on-site catering for special, private events in the private family dining room.
Residents can participate in a variety of activities, such as “chair yoga” and gardening, water color classes, a cooking club, choral club, language class, card games, needle crafts, wine-tasting, and yes, there will be bingo.
I overheard several visitors at Thursday’s event fantasize about living at Oakmont of Redding.
Me? I hate to make it all about the food, but I confess if I lived at Oakmont of Redding I’d be hanging out a lot near the open kitchen, chatting up the chefs and swapping recipes.
Or maybe you’d find me reading a book on one of these benches with that gorgeous view of the river like nowhere else in Redding (well, except on that bluff).
Either way, for anyone of any age and any need, Oakmont of Redding would be a nice place to call home.
Photos by Steve DuBois.
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.