Emeritus at Carmel Valley provides home-like, long-term care for seniors


By Karen Billing

Emeritus at Carmel Valley specializes in making smooth transitions into senior housing and ensuring that the community really feels like home to its residents.

The facility has been in Carmel Valley for 13 years, and is what executive director Rudy Littlefield calls “Carmel Valley’s best-kept secret.” Previously called Brighton Gardens, the home was renamed Emeritus in December 2008.

The Emeritus company — its name means “retire with honors” in Latin — is the largest provider of long-term care in the country, with 489 communities nationwide.

“Our company motto is ‘Our family is committed to yours’,” said Littlefield. “We think what sets us apart is that it’s really a family-oriented place and our community is life-enriching, very engaging and very active for the most part.”

The Carmel Valley facility has 90 independent living/assisted living apartments, 24 apartments in memory care, and can accommodate 45 skilled nursing patients. Emeritus provides independent living, assisted living, secured memory care and skilled nursing. In its skilled nursing program (which caters to patients post stroke, post-surgery, post-knee and hip replacements, cardiac rehab and others), the outcomes have been “spectacular” as of late, with residents arriving on a gurney safely walking in fewer than 30 days.

The goal at Emeritus is to keep residents strong through rehab, get them home and keep them home, said Karen Cannon, community relations director, not continually going through a cycle of hospital, care facility and home.

The community also has a full-service salon, restaurant-style dining and a very busy activities program with shopping excursions, trips to the casino, sporting events and any other activity residents may have an interest in.

Transportation services are provided for residents, pets are allowed and nurses are on staff 24 hours a day, an additional service that other communities don’t provide.

“The goal is to truly enrich the lives of those who choose to reside with us,” Littlefield said.

Emeritus is a very social environment, Littlefield said. They even have a Resident’s Council that plans events and activities, such as card games, and welcomes newcomers—the residents’ most recent effort is a food drive for San Diego Food Bank, encouraging donations at the facility through Jan. 20.

“A big part of what our population looks forward to is improved social activities,” Littlefield said. “They think they will lose that when they go into senior housing but they don’t have to with a well-planned program. We really provide opportunities for residents to get out and live in the world and come home to the safety of our community.”

Littlefield has been working as a nursing home administrator since 1995. He chose to focus on nursing, dementia care and assisted living after his experience with his own grandmother.

He wanted to find better solutions for her care — when he started out the industry had a bad reputation and people like him have worked hard to create a culture change and improve the quality of care for seniors.

Reputations don’t get much better than Emeritus, Littlefield said.

“We have a reputation for excellent quality, nearly all of our facilities are four or five star rated, including ours,” Littlefield said. “We’ve had excellent survey results.”

Additionally, Emeritus Carmel Valley’s memory care division has become a program model for all other facilities with the support and services they provide.

Emeritus currently has openings in assisted living and a wait list for its memory care neighborhood. For more information, visit www.emeritus.com or call (858) 259-2222.