Reutlinger Community unveils $10 million face-lift

More than 200 people attended a Sept. 18 open house marking completion of a five-year project to upgrade and enhance the Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living in Danville.

The event also honored the Schiff and Polse families in recognition of their generosity that helped turn the vision of the $10 million project into a reality. “Without the extreme generosity of these two families the scope of this project could not have been achieved,” said Reutlinger CEO Jay Zimmer.

The celebration “capped 18 months of intense renovations of most of our public areas and many of our residences and clinical spaces. 73,000 square feet in all,” noted Zimmer. The senior residence provides various levels of living options and a range of services for older adults.

Following the ribbon-cutting, guests were invited to explore the grounds and visit the new art studio, fitness room, reception lobby, dining rooms and other areas.

Burton and Betty Ann Polse were enthusiastic supporters of the Reutlinger Community since its inception as the Home for Jewish Parents in Oakland, and were instrumental in raising funds for the community’s move to Danville. Today, the Polse Family Pavilion stands as a testament to their lifetime passion.

The Schiff Center for Life stands as testament to the generosity of Ilse Schiff, who resided at the Reutlinger until she passed away. Her most recent gift allowed the second floor to be redesigned in a “Main Street” configuration that mimics an outdoor shopping center complete with a salon, café and gift shop.

The Reutlinger Community Opens Doors to the Future of Senior Living. Form, function and design key to $10 million renovation

Danville, CA – On Sunday, September 18, at 2 PM, after five years of planning and construction, residents and officials at The Reutlinger Community will be celebrating the landmark completion of an extraordinary renovation project. The celebration will honor two families – one for the Schiff Center for Life and one for the Polse Family Pavilion – in recognition of the two benefactors whose generosity helped turn the vision of the renovation project into a reality.

Nearly every aspect of the community’s common physical space has been reconfigured, reconstructed or repurposed to meet the needs of the community’s senior residents today as well as into the future.

The elements of form, function and design were central to every decision made. Visitors and residents will see and feel the difference the moment they enter the lobby and reception area. Those areas are just a prelude to the overall welcoming environment and comfort that is immediately apparent as people move throughout the community. Guests will be able to tour the brand new art studio, fitness room, reception lobby, dining rooms, resident rooms, salon, nurses’ station, activity and sunroom, gallery and experience for themselves why The Reutlinger is considered the gold standard for senior living environments.

“Today’s living spaces must be multi-functional. It is so important for the environment to be hospitality-oriented while at the same time effectively accommodate our aging population’s needs. To achieve this goal, careful consideration was given to color choices, wall coverings, carpet patterns, and furnishings. Pairing inviting interior design elements with wide, easy to maneuver corridors and public spaces with special lighting and other features creates an environment of comfort and safety, in addition to promoting socialization for our residents,” stated Jay Zimmer, CEO. “Equal consideration of the multi-functional concept was given to private rooms and public spaces.”

All dining rooms, reading and activities areas, and relaxing spaces include inviting seating options, beautiful window treatments, and tasteful furnishings. A 24/7 café is a wonderful addition to the communal areas. Residents can now easily communicate on a number of devices with friends and loved ones who may be far away geographically but always close in their hearts.

“As the East Bay’s most respected residence for the elderly, this renovation firmly establishes The Reutlinger as the area’s premier senior living facility,” said Zimmer. “Our Board of Directors has backed this project 100% because they believe our residents deserve the best. This $10 million renovation project has delivered that and more.”

About The Reutlinger Community Established in 1950, The Reutlinger is a non-profit senior living community that is proud to offer a true continuum of care from Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care to Skilled Nursing including Short-term Rehabilitation. Located in the beautiful rolling hills of Danville, CA. The Reutlinger offers a full range of activity programming in every level of care 7 days a week; and welcomes people of all faiths and background. For more information visit

Personnel file: Danville senior living community wins regional award

The Reutlinger wins ‘Favorite Jewish Community Residence in East Bay’

For the second year in a row, The Reutlinger Community in Danville won the award for “Favorite Jewish Community Residence in the East Bay Area” from The J — The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California.

“We are pleased to receive this award from the Northern California’s Jewish Community,” Jay Zimmer, CEO of The Reutlinger Community, said in a statement. “The competition gets more difficult every year, and we’re happy to see that J readers have decided that we have risen to it.”

Every year, J puts the spotlight on the best Jewish establishments in Northern California with its Readers’ Choice Awards. Readers from over 20,000 households choose their favorite synagogues, restaurants, shops and more.

The Reutlinger, located at 4000 Camino Tassajara, is a nonprofit senior living community that offers care from assisted living, enhanced assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation for Jewish and non-Jewish residents.

Editor’s note: accepts news from businesses about personnel transitions, awards and milestone anniversaries. Send information to associate editor Jeremy Walsh at

The cost of dementia goes beyond dollars

A silent epidemic is stalking our society — an epidemic of dementia — and the Jewish community is not immune.

This week we run the second of a two-part series on Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, examining in a very personal way how the disease impacts patients, caregivers and the Jewish social service agencies supporting them.

It’s not a pretty picture.

As many as 600,000 Californians now live with dementia, a number sure to increase as Americans live longer but not necessarily better. The strain on families, institutions and the safety net may near a breaking point in the years ahead as millions of baby boomers reach retirement age. The cost of dementia care in America this year alone is as high as $260 billion.

Fortunately, Bay Area Jewish institutions equipped to deal with the intense needs of this population have seized the initiative, offering innovative solutions for affected families.

As our series details, both the S.F.-based Jewish Family and Children’s Services and East Bay-based Jewish Family & Community Services have experts on staff and are developing programs to support patients and caregivers. Institutions such as the Jewish Home and Rhoda Goldman Plaza in San Francisco and the Reutlinger Community in Danville offer state-of-the-art facilities and programming to make daily life as comfortable and stimulating as possible for memory care residents.

As our story shows, focus is shifting from medical intervention to “person-centered care,” putting the emphasis on quality of life.

Professionals are introducing initiatives such as music therapy and challah baking classes to help patients make the most of their days and bring them comfort. They also offer respite care for caregivers, who often labor alone, sometimes for years and at great emotional and financial cost, to support loved ones at home.

In one hopeful sign on the horizon, Tel Aviv University earlier this year announced a breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research, as its scientists isolated a protein missing from Alzheimer’s patients that protects the brain from damage. This discovery could lead to the development of drugs that could slow, halt or even reverse the progress of the disease.

Meanwhile, we must continue to find ways to cope with the increasing numbers of dementia sufferers in our midst. Fortunately, we live in a community that cares deeply about this issue and already has been responding to it. We are grateful to the Jewish institutions, staffers and volunteers who work to ease the burdens.

Library Gallery Exhibits Work by Artists 80 – And Up!

By ELANA O’LOSKEY Staff Writer The Lamorinda Arts Council presents “Around the World at 80,” featuring the work of local artists who are octogenarians or older. The exhibit runs through July at Orinda Library Art Gallery. More than 30 artists age 80 to 99 are showing work in a variety of media and styles including ceramics, sculptures, paintings, collages, stitchery, digital images, woodcarvings, batik hand-painted goose eggs, linocuts and etchings. There is nothing tired or humdrum about this group. Join them at an artists’ reception on Sunday, July 17, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. when light refreshments will be served.

Anyone can be born with a gift, but it takes courage to develop it. This means life experiences over eight or more decades have enhanced the natural talents of these artists. Expect work that is transformative and manifests the core of each artist, many of whom are not only world travelers, but have exhibited all over the world as well. Many have also written books about their art, given interviews to prestigious publications and worked as sought-after art teachers.

Octogenarians (or older) showing work include: Kay Athos of Castro Valley, paintings; Norah Bain of Orinda, paintings; Lu Beury, paintings; Jean Calicura of Pleasant Hill, ceramics; Shirley Case, paintings; Barbara Crawford, ceramics; Lloyd Coyne, paintings; Pam Della paintings; Ed Diffenderfer of Pleasant Hill, paintings; Fran Dobin of Danville, paper collage; Barbara Falconer, watercolors; June Felter, paintings; Shirl Fink, metal plates; Art Gronner of Lafayette, carved wood; Loraine Hornbeck of Danville, watercolors; Joan Ibarolle of Walnut Creek, ceramic dolls; Nancy Jacobsen of Orinda, linocuts and etchings; Ruth Janger of Danville, paintings; Katarina Kivel of Danville, watercolors; Fred Lee of Orinda, digital images; Helen Ann Licht of Lafayette, paintings; Anna Marie Lininger of Lafayette, batik hand-painted tessellated goose eggs; Maher Salama of Danville, watercolors; Bess Meek of Danville, watercolors; Freddy Moran of Orinda, quilts; Peggy Moulton of Orinda, stitchery; Elizabeth Muller of Orinda, paintings; Virginia Munroe of Orinda, paintings and monotypes; Shirley Nootbaar, watercolors; Marge Rector of Sausalito, acrylic paintings; Ralph Smith of Orinda, sculpture; Josef Twirbutt of Danville, wood collage; Clark Vilas, sculpture and watercolors; and Rhoda Wasserman of Danville, graphite and oil on canvas board.

Council co-curators Maggie Boscoe and Natalie Wheeler, plus gallery committee members Bill Carmel and Lois Reynolds Mead put in months of effort to make this exhibit possible. Local businesses, such as Republic of Cake, The Fourth Bore, Piccolo Napoli, Mechanics Bank and Sanvitalia contributed to the artist reception. Virginia Munroe of Orinda, 99, had a joint exhibit some years ago with her late husband, Joseph Munroe, who was an oldtime National Geographic photographer back before digital. She is showing two works, Bouquet, a 36.5” x 38.5” acrylic monotype on paper, and Landing in Red, a 31” x 43” acrylic on canvas. “I paint to express this world in a visually creative way and it is a challenge I love,” says Munroe. Helen Ann Licht is 83 and has been painting for more than 50 years. She lives in Lafayette and her studio is in Oakland. Her painting, Jacob and the Angel, is part of the Tali, Virtual Midrash in Israel. She has shown work throughout the United States and Mexico. The book on her Biblical paintings is entitled The Many Colored Bible. Look for Eden Song, a 36” x 36” acrylic on canvas painting. She paints whimsical memories of her travels, the Bible and currently paints contemporary abstracts. See more of her work at www.

Ralph Smith, 86, from Oakland is Orinda City Manager Janet Keeter’s father. He is showing two sculptures, Black Widow #2, 12” x 12” x 3.4” made of copper cable, stained glass, plastic and wood and Chrysalis, 16” x 14.75” x 8” made of metal and fiberglass. “I look at the material until it speaks to me. I then try to mold the new-found forms into history’s classical vocabulary,” says Smith. Anna Marie Lininger, also of Lafayette, is 87 and has taken an ancient Ukrainian craft and adapted it to her contemporary sensibilities. “I am not Ukrainian, nor do I claim to be. I use a wax dye process so I describe the end result as batik eggs,” she says.

Lininger is fascinated by tessellations; all her batik eggs are done in series of three. A tessellation is created when a shape is repeated over and over again, covering a plane without any gaps or overlaps. M.C. Escher famously made a study of tessellations and introduced the world to their unique qualities. Some of Lininger’s eggs have been displayed in the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, the museum in Pacific Grove and St. Mary’s College in Moraga. Look for Rhythm, an orange design with white ladders, and Tessellation Series 1, a black-and-white design. Each group is a series of three goose eggs with similar designs done with the wax dye process. The goose eggs are approximately 9” x 5” in diameter. As you view this outburst of creativity from our community, ask yourself Pablo Picasso’s question: “Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No.” Visit the gallery at 26 Orinda Way during normal library hours – Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. The library is closed on July 3 and 4. For information, call 925-254-2184 or visit

Danville seniors selected to compete in juried art exhibit in SF

Seven residents of Danville senior living community chosen

The artwork of seven residents of a Danville senior care community has been chosen for exhibition in the 23rd annual Art With Elders showing.

Art pieces by Joan Brown, Rita O. Goldman, Lorraine Hornbeck, Ruth Janger, Katarina Kivel, Michie Takashima and Rhoda Wasserman of The Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living were selected to be a part of the juried art show, according to a statement from the community.

The Art With Elders exhibition will open Oct. 18 at Laguna Honda Hospital’s Gerald Simon Theatre in San Francisco to artists, family, friends and the public. The exhibit will stay in San Francisco for a month before traveling to other locations.

“The residents are delighted, especially since all of them have attended the opening in previous years and have been so interested in the artwork they have seen,” said Betty Rothaus, director of The Reutlinger’s art program, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this month.

The criteria for the juried exhibit included composition, original concept/subject, process, skill and color. The Reutlinger has been participating in the exhibit since 2000.

“This annual exhibit is truly one of the most joyous highlights of the year for our resident artists, families, and staff who attend,” The Reutlinger CEO Jay Zimmer said.

The Reutlinger is a nonprofit senior living community on Camino Tassajara that offers care including independent living, assisted living, memory care, nursing care and short-term rehabilitation.

Reutlinger expands rehabilitation therapy

In a move to provide integrated health care, the Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living in Danville has formed a strategic partnership with Affirma Rehabilitation. “This alliance benefits our residents by allowing them to get needed care in place — immediately and at regular intervals — alleviating the stress and wait for off-site doctor visits,” said Reutlinger CEO Jay Zimmer.

The therapeutic services also will be available for those in Reutlinger’s short-term rehabilitation unit needing post-hospital discharge care, Zimmer said,  “and plans are already underway to offer services to the community at large as well.”

The comprehensive services — including orthopedic and stroke rehabilitation, cardio-pulmonary care and dementia therapy — will be part of a broader outpatient program with an increased focus on wellness for Reutlinger’s assisted-living community, Zimmer added.

The Reutlinger Community joins forces with AFFIRMA Rehabilitation to offer onsite therapy

The Reutlinger Community joins forces with AFFIRMA Rehabilitation to offer onsite therapy Strategic Partnership to improve care and outcomes for Danville community‘s Senior Population Danville, CA – In a move to provide integrated healthcare, The Reutlinger Community has formed a strategic partnership with AFFIRMA Rehabilitation. “This alliance benefits our residents by allowing them to get needed care in place – immediately and at regular intervals – alleviating the stress and wait for offsite doctor visits,” explains Jay Zimmer, CEO of The Reutlinger. “It also makes our short-term stay rehabilitation unit ideal for those needing post-hospital discharge care; and plans are already underway to offer services to the community-at-large as well.”

In an era when hospitals are being penalized for readmissions, sending institutions will benefit from The Reutlinger – AFFIRMA partnership through improved patient functional outcomes when discharging to the community. According to data released by The Reutlinger, the community already enjoys low readmission rates – under 3% compared to the industry of 8% – and an average length of stay of only 19 days compared to 27 days.

The Reutlinger – AFFIRMA partnership will offer state of the art modalities in conjunction with evidencebased clinical programs to help with fall reduction, contracture management, orthopedic rehabilitation, stroke rehabilitation, cardio-pulmonary care, and dementia. The suite of comprehensive rehabilitation services covering musculoskeletal and neurological conditions, cardiac, respiratory, dementia care, and more, will also be available as a broader, out-patient program with an increased focus on wellness to the assisted living community as well as the outside community.

Zimmer also explained, that another major benefit of onsite rehabilitation services will be better coordination and communication from therapy services to all departments associated with residentpatient care resulting in improved transitions from skilled nursing to assisted living or home. AFFIRMA will have a lead Facility Rehabilitation Director at The Reutlinger to act as the liaison between all caregivers.

“This partnership will bring us new programmatic capability for both in/out-patient populations, new service delivery options, andstate of the art equipment to name just a few benefits,” expressed Zimmer. Ruth Miller, Senior Regional Director for AFFIRMA added, “This partnership will improve the quality of care for all residents associated with The Reutlinger and help each person achieve their highest functional ability.”

About The Reutlinger Community Established in 1950, The Reutlinger is a non-profit senior living community that is proud to offer a true continuum of care from Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care to Skilled Nursing including Short-term Rehabilitation. Located in the beautiful rolling hills of Danville, CA. The Reutlinger offers a full range of activity programming in every level of care 7 days a week; and welcomes people of all faiths and background. For more information visit About AFFIRMA Rehabilitation AFFIRMA is a nationwide company dedicated to providing superior rehabilitation therapy services. We are an integrated healthcare provider meeting resident’s needs through the care continuum. AFFIRMA stands for quality and clinically is able to address all aspects of cognitive and physical rehabilitation. AFFIRMA uses innovative techniques to achieve optimal measurable outcomes for each resident under care. For more information visit

Carla Adamic joins The Reutlinger as Director of Marketing

Established in 1950, The Reutlinger is a non-profit senior living community offering assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing.

The Reutlinger Community is pleased to announce that Carla Adamic has joined its leadership team as Director of Marketing. In this capacity, Adamic will oversee the coordination of all inquiries, admissions, sales calls, outreach to referral sources, and marketing. She is also a Registered Nurse.
Jay Zimmer, CEO of The Reutlinger commented upon her hiring, “Carla and I have worked together in the past, implementing new procedures and programs. She is dedicated, compassionate and concerned about the residents, we are very fortunate to have her join The Reutlinger Community’s team.”
“I respect Jay’s leadership style and was intrigued that he made me an offer to join the staff at The Reutlinger. I am excited to be here to work passionately to safeguard the quality and reputation of The Reutlinger. I will do everything in my power to ensure that our special residents are given superior care, and that they are cared about,” expressed Adamic.
Carla further explained that she has had the pleasure of working in the senior living industry for the past 10 years in four different communities. She re-entered the workforce after a leave of absence to raise her three children. In her previous position she had to commute a minimum of three hours a day. “I love my new commute,” she declared. “I am blessed to have discovered my passion and occupation are one in the same – seniors!”
Adamic and her family have lived in Danville for more than 23 years. She has 2 sons, a daughter, son in law, and a precious 2 ½ year old grandson. She is engaged to married this summer to, as she states, a wonderful man.

About The Reutlinger Community
Established in 1950, The Reutlinger is a non-profit senior living community that is proud to offer a true continuum of care from Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care to Skilled Nursing including Short-term Rehabilitation. Located in the beautiful rolling hills of Danville, CA. The Reutlinger offers a full range of activity programming in every level of care 7 days a week; and welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds, with an emphasis on Jewish values. For more information visit
# # #

Increasing beauty among the elderly

By Betty Rothaus

In my career as director of the art program at The Reutlinger Community, I was invited to participate in a fascinating three day international conference entitled “Beauty: The Color of Truth”. The gathering brought people from a variety of realms together- scientists, artists, theologians, and scholars – to look at beauty. We discussed what it is and the roles it plays in our lives collectively, culturally and individually.

I was asked to speak about beauty in the context of healing and spirituality in the elderly, and to share the “Discovering the Artist Within” program at The Reutlinger as a living example.

My panel offering, “Discovering the Artist Within: The Healing Power of Beauty” outlined our community’s art program and provided visual references of our residents’ works and quotes. I addressed the actual experience of beauty and creativity in our lives and the healing affect of beauty on our body, mind and most importantly, spirit-particularly in our aging population.

I spoke about how old age and aging is a part of life, and like any other, full of possibilities, limitations, and challenges. My art students in their 80s and 90s want to grow and learn, find beauty and share it. They have not stopped “becoming” – in fact, they are coming closer and closer to who they really are. What most people see (when they meet an elder) is an outer image. But each person has a spirit inside, no matter his or her age. This is part of my joy in teaching, to see that spirit set free, and expressed.

Though we say something is beautiful it seems to have more to do with energy than material embodiment.  We are stilled when we experience beauty, often followed by the feeling of awe, of aliveness or appreciation of that precious moment. Whether it is received through the senses or imagined with the inner eye, it is intensely felt.

When we encounter beauty we are filled with this experience; we shift into a different state of being- a more sensitive state of openness and receptivity. OUR EYES OPEN. WE SEE WHAT WE DID NOT SEE BEFORE.  In our alternative state, time and place of the material and mundane world completely disappears, our mind chatter stops and pain lessens, and there is peace.

All it takes to slip into this alternative state is a willingness to focus on beauty. This is a lovely way to share precious moments with an aging loved one. Some tips for making this happen:

  • Go out in nature together and discuss what you see. What is beautiful in books, large nature photographs or in other cultures?
  • Read a lyrical poem that touches you or a mystical story.
  • Listen to a symphony or opera or sing together.
  • Watch a dance concert, study a work of art, or create a painting of your own.

These are moments that can transport you and a senior resident to a world in which his or her spirit can soar into sound and color. Refreshed and renewed, you will be creating a shared experience and beautiful memory that will be treasured.

Betty Rothaus, MFA, is the Artist-in-Residence at The Reutlinger Community in Danville, CA.