Giving Seniors Their Independence to Thrive: Individual Care, Vibrant Life Program, the Elevate Farm to Table Dining and Love

Five-star reviews are coming in for The Point at Rockridge, an independent, assisted-living and memory-care community in North Oakland, with testimonials touting the quality of care and compassionate attitude of the staff.

The successful model rests on the leadership of Executive Director Deborah Savoie and the integration of her dynamic team: Resident Care Director-RN Bernadette Rosales; Generations Care Director Mary Ann Ranoa; Vibrant Life Director Joseph Karpanty; Building Services Director Jerome Conner and Dining Services Director Fabio Koehler.

At The Point, resident care is focused not only on the physical body but also on a person’s social and emotional well-being. The care staff takes the individual’s needs into account and ensures residents are attending programs of their choice with a high emphasis on maintaining independence.  There is a robust calendar of programs designed to follow six core components:  be inspired, be well, be challenged, be family, be social, be connected.

“Here at The Point at Rockridge we are family. We care about each other and it shows in all the little ways as I walk and listen each day,” Savoie says. “Every day, a sweetness comes to life with residents helping each other, staff sharing a silly moment with the residents, residents overflowing the room for special activities smiling as they exit.”

The Point at Rockridge currently serves 130 residents, who are able to utilize the professional staff 24 hours a day. The modern facility offers a salon, game room, theater, library, business center, dining room, fitness center, art room, outdoor BBQ, parking garage, scheduled transportation and private balconies with views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, and Mount Tamalpais.

“Our residents lead lives that are more balanced and fulfilled than they can achieve on their own,” Savoie says.


How do I make sure my loved one is being engaged and not in isolation?

The activities calendar is posted at the top of the month. Staff encourages residents and their families to study the long list of programs and then discuss together what their loved one might be interested in.

“Every day I knock on doors to invite and encourage residents to come to activities that they have said they wish to attend,” Vibrant Life Director Joseph Karpanty says. “Everyone likes to know they will be missed if they forget to attend an activity and a special invite goes a long way in motivating our residents. It truly helps the residents to feel cared for, when we encourage but don’t require.”

Karpantry says he gets to know each and every resident personally.  He then explores if the residents have any mental/physical/psychological challenges while also asking them about their interests, hobbies and skills. Finally, he assigns a “resident ambassador” to spend the first two weeks with the new resident. The ambassador creates a rapport and guides that new resident into acclimating to life at The Point.


What is “comprehensive programming” and why is so important?

Comprehensive programming is a multi-faceted approach to providing the best overall quality of life. Karpantry utilizes what he calls the “Whole Person Approach,” which spans from someone’s religion to their family dynamics.


Some assisted living communities have reputations for poor quality dining options. Why are meals so important?

Culinary Services Director Fabio Dias, who hails from Brazil, believes strongly that specially prepared food is the spice of life.

Eighty percent of what Dias cooks is from scratch, and his ingredients are farm-to-table products that are delivered daily. “When food is fresh, with lots of choices and carefully prepared, people know inside out that they are nourished,” he says. Each day, residents choose from a four-page menu of freshly made dishes. The dining room is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. “You can come to my dining room anytime and get a waffle or a homemade cup of soup,” he says. “Very few assisted living communities have our choices and allow residents to eat whenever they choose.”


Why is it important to give residents independence as long as possible?

Allowing residents to keep their independence as long as possible allows people to “maintain their dignity and provides them with the right to have choices,” says Resident Care Director-RN Bernadette Rosales.

Plus, Rosales says that independence also increases people’s overall physical, mental and psychological functioning and creates a positive and productive mindset. The result? Residents will more likely want to take on new challenges, create new friendships, and improve their conflict-resolution skills thereby allowing them grow, and stay healthier longer, she says.

“Moving through these stages with grace and dignity is important for mental health,” Rosales says. “Our philosophy at The Point is not to take away independent participation by ‘doing for the resident.’”

Instead, at The Point, Rosales said the staff coaches residents to do what they can do on their own, and then gently assist them, only if they need it. “With kindness and care we work together with families, residents, and staff to support as full an independent lifestyle possible,” she says. “Through that lens, residents thrive and have a better quality of life.”


What else is important for quality of life?

A clean and well-maintained physical building is part of the overall environment too and contributes to a sense of well being for residents and staff. And when visitors walk into The Point at Rockridge, they are immediately surrounded with lovely furnishings, and spacious community rooms that are always clean and fresh.

“I come to work every day with a smile on my face because I really do love what I do,” said Building Services Director Jerome Conner. “Be it steam cleaning or feeding the fish in our salt water tanks. Being patient and helping my residents is never a problem, I just slow it down and enjoy the moment. Plus, I have been at The Point for 13 years, and my work family is really part of my happy place. Keeping the building well maintained is my objective but my everyday personal objective is to see a smile on a resident’s face.”

4500 Gilbert Street, Oakland, CA 94611

Faces of the East Bay