Deepening Its Roots, Twelve Oaks Senior Living Marks Milestone

Photo by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK Leoncie Green and Rosetta DeAllen take part in musical bingo at Twelve Oaks Senior Living.
Photo by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK
Leoncie Green and Rosetta DeAllen take part in musical bingo at Twelve Oaks Senior Living.

Twelve Oaks Senior Living recently celebrated its first birthday, though that milestone hardly conveys the long history of the facility near La Cañada Flintridge that serves elderly residents.
The Glendale center, known for decades as Twelve Oaks Lodge before undergoing a rebirth after the previous facility’s closing, kept its Dec. 21 anniversary a quiet one. But on Friday, residents played a catchy form of musical bingo that carried over into a happy hour featuring sparkling cider.
LCF resident Karen Gee McAuley, who serves on the board of the Twelve Oaks Foundation, likened the facility for men and women to a cruise ship or even a resort.
“Normally, when you think of an assisted living facility you think of it being institutional, like a box with multiple levels, and this is more like a resort,” McAuley said. “It’s five acres of land” that include cottages, rooms and a walking path amid a park-like atmosphere.
Residents of the facility, McAuley said, primarily come from LCF, Glendale and La Crescenta.
“Those are the three biggest communities that we pull out residents from,” she said. Eventually, the community plans to have room for 63 people, about twice the current capacity.
Meanwhile, Rosetta “Rose” DeAllen and Leoncie “Nini” Green were participating in the game with activities director Patricia Gilmore as snippets of songs like “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” and “Home on the Range” played. They placed large chips on a sheet with the corresponding song titles.
DeAllen, a longtime Glendale resident, has lived at the facility since April and said she enjoys the amenities.
“It’s good,” DeAllen, 80, said. “There’s an outside patio on the first floor.” She’s also made some friends and recommends the facility to others. She said she entered the facility after she went to the hospital for undisclosed health reasons and was told she couldn’t live on her own.
As she spoke, the 1985 song “That’s What Friends Are For” played in the background with Dionne Warwick singing.
Green, 94, who used to live in Westwood, said she entered the facility after her heart had stopped.
“They are very nice people,” she said. “I’m happy where I am.”
Martinelli’s Gold Medal Sparkling Cider was served in festive glasses when the game concluded, and residents and volunteers happily talked to each other and shared stories.
They might not have been aware of the facility’s roots in the community. The history of forerunner Twelve Oaks Lodge began in 1935, when James and Effie Fifeld donated a 13-room home to the Verdugo Hills Sunshine Society to supply a residence for elderly women. In the 1950s, National Charity League of Glendale became involved with the lodge and eventually became the primary manager. In 1963, the mother-daughter charity donated more than $50,000 to the Sunshine Society to construct Stern Hall, a residential building that still stands and is undergoing renovation.
In 1975, the society transferred control of the lodge to the Twelve Oaks Foundation of National Charity League of Glendale. Under the league’s sponsorship of the foundation, Oaks Hall and the Pavilion were built.
In 2002, Southern California Presbyterian Homes — later known as — took over the facility through 2013 but NCL of Glendale continued to donate money annually, ranging from $30,000 to $40,000.
In late 2013, the home was closed amid a dispute between and the charity league, and NCL of Glendale regained control of its foundation in August 2015.
LCF resident Rose Chan, also a board member and incoming president, said it was a challenge to get the facility back up and running after a lawsuit and finding resources to renovate the property.
“It’s like a start-up, but we really think there’s a great need for this place, for affordable assisted living,” Chan said. “I’ve never seen a place like this that’s affordable. It’s such a unique property, and to me it’s always felt very homey. It’s nice now to have renovated it and have it back. I think it still has the same spirit, but now it’s been modernized.”
The property is now owned by the Twelve Oaks Foundation, which has contracted with Northstar Management to operate it.
The facility offers assisted living and is adding “memory care,” with more than $1.5 million having been spent improving the property.
A total of 28 rooms and 30 to 35 beds were initially available in the first phase with the upper building of the Oaks serving assisted living residents and the ground floor for memory care.
The property also includes walking paths, a rose garden and a large outdoor patio with oak trees, along with a hair salon, library and art gallery of paintings by residents and members of their families.
Prices start at $3,500 a month for a studio unit, which includes three restaurant-style meals a day, a full-time nurse, weekly housekeeping, laundry and other amenities.
Jesse Zamudio, executive director, said the affordability of the facility in its first year can’t be over-emphasized.
“For $3,500 anywhere else, and I mean anywhere else, it’s depressing,” Zamudio said. “It’s not even close to anything like this.”
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