Dr. Gene Dorio and Barbara Cochran, hosts of “The Senior Hour” on KHTS AM-1220, were recently joined by the executive director of the luxury senior living community Oakmont of Santa Clarita, Margie Veis.
By: Lori Bashian
Veis said one of the best parts about serving as the community’s executive director is getting to see the changes in individuals from when they first arrive, as well as the friendships that are formed among residents.
“I get choked up when I see that community forming, the friendships being formed, people that have lived alone that were isolated that are now out and about,” said Veis. “Just in an environment that’s so nurturing, but yet really encompusses the independence of seniors.”
In comparison to other senior living communities, Veis said the primary reason Oakmont is such a close community is the staff.
“Many assisted livings offer the same services if you look on paper: meals are provided, housekeeping is provided, laundry is provided. But, again, what I think makes Oakmont of Santa Clarita stand out is our staff,” explained Veis. “I think it’s the philosophy of a family-owned community that really our residents come first.”
She continued that her staff is comprised of “a team that is dedicated, that is passionate,” and maintain the philosophy, “It’s not about what I want, it’s about what the residents want.”
One common issue Dorio and Cochran asked Veis to address is the fact that many seniors are often unwilling to move into an assisted living community until they are forced to by an emergency situation like a fall.
“Sometimes the conversations that we have with families (are), ‘What are you waiting for?’ Because we’ll get, ‘Oh this is beautiful, but I’m not ready yet,’” explained Veis. “So it’s being able to push a little bit, but also sometimes it’s really hard to acknowledge that our parent needs help.”
Veis also encouraged families to do their research before being put “in that tailspin– we’ve had a fall, we’re in the hospital, you can’t go back home and you haven’t done your research. That’s when all control usually gets taken away for the senior.”
In addition, Veis noted that the decision to move into an assisted living community is a process, and is usually not an overnight decision.
“First of all, they want to see it. Can they picture themselves there? They want to see it again, they want to taste the food, they need to think about it… It takes everybody a different amount of time. Everybody has a different need,” explained Veis.
If a senior is reluctant to move in because they don’t want to give up their pets, Veis added that Oakmont of Santa Clarita is a pet-friendly community with a number of cats and about 12 dogs.
“We even have a pet club where the residents with pets get together,” Veis said, adding that Oakmont also has a pet care system in place to take care of residents’ pets.
“If a resident can’t care for that pet, we can actually make a care plan that incorporates walking the dog or changing the cat litter,” Veis continued. “Anything we can do to keep that pet because… that’s their companion.”
Oakmont is a luxury senior living community in Santa Clarita located on seven acres of land on Newhall Ranch Road. Recently opened in January 2016, Oakmont of Santa Clarita is comprised of 80 pet-friendly apartment units, with both independent and assisted living options available. Residents can enjoy five star amenities like a salon & day spa, movie theater, fitness center, restaurant-style dining, gardens and walking paths, pet park, wellness center and more. A separate wing of the community, called Traditions Memory Care, is dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
28650 Newhall Ranch Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91355