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March 31, 2020
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How to Find the Best Senior Living or Retirement Facility in Marin County CA

The choice of senior living communities for independent living, or nursing home for assisted living for your loved one can be difficult and fraught with uncertainty. How can you be certain they'll give your loved one the care they need? Today, independent living communities for seniors, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and retirement homes in Marin County offer services to provide all the medical, social and nutritional needs of the elderly.

The following research by The Prime Buyer's Report identifies the best senior living facilities in Marin County and issues related to choosing them.

The TOP 10 Senior Living & Retirement Communities in Marin County CA

Aegis of Corte Madera

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(415) 927-4200
5555 Paradise Dr
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Areas Served: San Rafael CA, Novato CA, Larkspur CA, Mill Valley CA,…


  • Tamalpais Profile
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(415) 461-2300
501 Via Casitas
Greenbrae, CA 94904

Areas Served: San Anselmo CA, Mill Valley CA, San Rafael CA, Tiburon…

Windchime of Marin

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(415) 482-4100
1111 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Kentfield, CA 94904

Areas Served: Mill Valley, San Rafael, Novato, San Anselmo, Fairfax CA, Woodacre,…

Deer Park Retirement Residence

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(415) 897-0054
646 Canyon Rd
Novato, CA 94947

Areas Served: Marin County incl. San Rafael, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Ross, Tiburon,…

Northgate Convalescent

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(415) 472-0524
40 Professional Center Pkwy
San Rafael, CA 94903

Areas Served: Marin, Novato, Sausalito, Mill Valley, San Rafael, Tiburon, San Anselmo,…

Countryvilla San Rafael

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(415) 479-5161
81 Professional Center Pkwy
San Rafael, CA 94903

Areas Served: Novato, San Rafael, Mill Valley, Sausalito, Larkspur, San Anselmo, Tiburon,…

Villa Marin

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(415) 499-8711
100 Thorndale Dr
San Rafael, CA 94903

Areas Served: Novato, San Rafael, Sausalito, Corte Madera, Tiburon, San Anselmo, Mill…

Drake Terrace

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(415) 491-1935
275 Los Ranchitos Rd
Terra Linda, CA 94903

Areas Served: Mill Valley, San Rafael, Tiburon, Sausalito, Belvedere, Fairfax CA, San…

Marin Convalescent & Rehab

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(415) 435-4554
30 Hacienda Drive
Tiburon, CA 94920

Areas Served: Novato, San Rafael, Mill Valley, Sausalito, Larkspur, San Anselmo, Tiburon,…

How to Find the Best Senior Living or Retirement Facility in Marin County CA


Facilities for senior living in Marin County California must obtain a certificate of authority from the state of California as protection for consumers. Additionally, any senior living facilities that provide skilled nursing services must also have a Skilled Nursing Facility License from the state DHS (Department of Health Services).  Further, the individuals who serve as administrators at RCFE (Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly), ARF (Adult Residential Facilities), or GH (Group Homes) are required to be a state Certified Administrator, requiring coursework and passing an exam.

But that is no guarantee that any particular senior living facility is doing business ethically, providing real value, and satisfying clients. And independent senior living communities and retirement communities in Marin County CA are not regulated by the state.

This makes it all the more significant that all senior living facilities, including senior independent living and retirement homes in Marin County CA bearing The Prime Buyer's Report-TOP 10 symbol have liability insurance coverage for the protection or residents in the event of injury, in addition to passing all other requirements for certification as Prime Buyer's Report-TOP 10 such as our survey phone calls to their residents or residents' family members to verify high satisfaction, verified license, only employees legal to work in the U.S., good complaint record, and more.


Options for Senior Living in Marin County CA

Depending on an individual's level of independence, there are choices available among aretirement homes and assisted living facilities. Typically, retirement communities are for those who are entirely independent. Assisted living facilities are for those who may be able to perform all or most of life's necessities, but prefer not to every day, or prefer to have the option. For instance, one may be able to cook, but prefer to leave the shopping and preparing to the on-site cafeteria or kitchen, at least some of the time. At these types of mid-range care, residents can get assistance with daily activities such as transportation to shopping or doctor's appointments, eating, bathing and dressing, if necessary but otherwise lead independent, self-directed lives. These elder care facilities are often utilized by couples where one spouse is more medically fragile than the other, thus allowing spouses to stay together in a supported environment.

Terminology varies throughout the nursing home and assisted living industry. Assisted living facilities may be referred to as board and care facilities, residential care facilities, nursing homes or any of a number of other names. The most important thing is to ensure that the facility matches the level of care required. The options run from simply renting an apartment in a facility that has nurses and other assistants available if needed, to full-scale 24/7 nursing care.

Some assisted living facilities in Marin County CA offer special Alzheimer's care wings, designed specifically to provide the best care for victims of that debilitating disease, occasionally with their spouses. Some assisted living facilities offer apartments for independent living, laundry and maid service, full dining rooms with varied and nutritious meals in a restaurant-like setting, transportation service and often provide various activities such as movies, parties and music, recreation rooms with games and books, snacks, in-house hair and nail salons and much more.

Residents may often bring their own furniture and other household items to make their apartment feel just like home. Some assisted living facilities even allow pets. The most important things are the level of comfort and care provided to residents. Your loved one needs to fee safe, cared for and have a sense of home. Regardless of the arrangements you make, don't forget to visit often.

Some Retirement Homes, Assisted Living or Independent Senior Living Communities in Marin County CA Are Better Than Others
The Prime Buyer's Report lists these retirement communities in Marin County CA: Drake Terrace Terra Linda CA, Marin Convalescent & Rehab Tiburon CA, Deer Park Retirement Residence Novato CA, Northgate Convalescent San Rafael CA, Tamalpais Greenbrae CA, Aegis of Corte Madera Corte Madera CA, Villa Marin San Rafael CA, Countryvilla San Rafael San Rafael CA, Windchime of Marin Kentfield CA. Other retirement homes and facilities for assisted living in San Rafael CA include: Pine Ridge Care Center San Rafael CA.

Choosing the Best Assisted Living Facility or Retirement Home for Your Loved One in Marin County

When choosing an assisted living or retirement facility, there are many considerations to take into account. Keep in mind that some medical conditions must be evaluated by a doctor, and his or her recommendation or classification can determine which facilities will accommodate you. Everyone's needs are different so it's best to write down as much as possible about what you are looking for—leaving no detail out—before you meet with representatives of potential Marin County retirement homes or nursing homes. This gives each a chance to comment on and address the same things, so it will be easier to compare responses.

Be ready also to ask lots of questions of your own. Listen not only to the answers to your questions, but to the level of interest and compassion the representative of the assisted living facility responds with. If they don't seem to be completely invested in ensuring your loved one is completely cared for in every way, choose another retirement facility or nursing home. You want the assisted living or retirement community you choose to be fully involved and to really care that everything goes perfectly for your loved one. If you've gotten a good initial impression, ask some questions about the retirement community's facilities, amenities, experience and credentialing. Use the list of questions below as a guide to develop your own.

• How long have the assisted living centers or retirement homes been in business?

• Are the assisted living facilities part of a chain?

• What training and certification do the retirement centers' staff have?

• What do retirement homes' staff schedules and staffing patterns look like on a daily basis? On the weekends? Holidays?

• Do the assisted living centers allow residents to bring their pets?

• Do the retirement homes allow residents to decorate their apartment as they like?

• What shopping or recreation facilities are near the nursing homes in Marin County?

• Will the retirement communities provide a copy of their annual state and federal facility survey? (Assisted living communities and retirement centers are required to provide this on request).

• What is the monthly charge at the retirement homes for different services? (Note: Adding living area square feet, extra rooms or in-room kitchen facilities can greatly affect the cost).

• Is housekeeping / laundry service including in the monthly charge at the retirement facilities?

• What system / staff do the nursing homes have in place in case of a medical emergency?

• Does each resident of the retirement facilities have their privacy respected?

• Will the residential care centers allow you to speak to some current residents and/or their families?

• What is the staff-to-resident ratio at the senior care centers or nursing homes?

• Can SSI offset some or all of the costs of living in the retirement community?

• What is the availability at the nursing homes or senior living centers? Is there a waiting list?

• Will the assisted living centers provide written contract sthat cover every expense, including ancillary services?

• What recreational facilities and services do the senior care centers or nursing homes provide residents?

Through this question-and-answer period, consider first impressions, technical abilities, experience levels, and compatible styles. Somewhere in this combination of facets you will find the right assisted living facility for you or your loved one. When you've selected the most suitable Marin County retirement community for you, make sure they are properly certified.

Tips for Choosing Good Senior Living or Retirement Community in San Rafael

Take Time Choosing Your Retirement Community.
Take your time choosing an assisted living facility. It's a huge decision and choosing right can mean the difference between regret and a happy retirement.  Each retirement community will come to the table with different skill sets, experiences, services and philosophy. If can plan early enough to interview several-even if you like the first one you meet, your odds of a successful outcome will improve.

Write it Down.
We mentioned this in another article, but it's important. Think about what services or amenities you need from an assisted living facility or nursing home. Jot down all your notes about any details that seem important. Sit down and write this out as detailed as possible; write down everything that comes to mind, no matter how trivial. By writing it down you'll be able to hand each potential retirement community a clear, consistent summary of what you're looking for and expecting. It will also be easier for them to give you clear, complete answers to your questions and concerns.

Get Several Separate Estimates.
When selecting a Marin County assisted living facility, it's not about just finding the lowest bidder. Getting several estimates helps because it will not only help you get an idea of the market value of the service, it will give you a chance to sound out the personalities and policies and customer service of each retirement community before getting involved with them.

Get Everything in Writing.
Nothing is official until it is written and signed. So insist that your retirement community provides you with a detailed document that describes the services, fees, policies, pricing, and any guarantee information. Get it in writing.  Everyone will feel better.

Do Your Homework Before You Sign An Agreement With a Marin County Retirement Community.
To narrow down your choices, do some detective work. Research the retirement community's licensing, insurance and reputation. To help with this, see our article: Key Consumer Resources for Assisted Living and Retirement Communities in Marin County. Verify all of this information before signing the contract.

Choose Certified Retirement Communities.
In Marin County, there is an upper echelon of highly regarded retirement communities and assisted living facilities that insist on delivering the best customer service possible. Seek out local retirement communities that have earned awards or certifications for customer service and you are much more likely to have a better outcome.

Visit the prospective Assisted Living Facility During Different Times.
Before making a decision, it's a good idea to do some drop-in visits during different times to observe overall conditions, cleanliness, the demeanor and appearance of residents, presence of qualified staff, etc. You might also want to drop by unannounced at lunch and dinner to sample the food being served. Do you see family members visiting? Look around; talk to residents, and any visiting family members. This will give you a better sense of the realities of daily life than just taking the scheduled tour.
Know Your Rights.
If you have the misfortune of arriving at a disagreement or legal impasse with your assisted living facility, you are protected by certain rights. Start with the California Department of Consumer Affairs Web site (

If An Assisted Living Facility or Retirement Community Doesn't Measure Up, Fire Them.
If your chosen assisted living or retirement community turns out to be inadequate in any way, look to the terms of your contract: what obligation do they have to make good? Do you have rights spelled out in the event of legal impasse?  What are they? Essentially, a retirement community's failure to perform under a contract constitutes grounds for dismissal.  But before you decide to terminate residency, weigh your options carefully.  Moving a fragile or elderly person can be much more disrupting than weathering the occasional disagreement with staff at your chosen facility.  Also keep in mind that really good facilities often have wait lists; if you suspect that you might have to move, examine your options thoroughly and get on waitlists as soon as possible.

Resources About Senior Living and Retirement Communities in Marin County

Associations & Licensing Relevant to Senior Living in Marin County CA

BBB Better Business Bureau
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs
American Association of Retired People
California Department of Aging
California Commission on
Diamond Certified
National Center for Assisted Living
Consumer Information about long-term care
Medline Plus (
American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
National Association of Senior Move Managers
California Assisted Living
California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform
Assisted Living Federation of America (
American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (www.aahsa
American Senior Housing Association
Center for Aging Services Technologies
Senior Outlook

The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the TOP 10 Senior Living & Retirement Communities in Marin County CA within the following zip codes.

94978, 94950, 94971, 94929, 94948, 94966, 94976, 94915, 94913, 94942, 94912, 94977, 94964, 94938, 94963, 94914, 94979, 94933, 94957, 94973, 94904, 94947, 94930, 94946, 94925, 94941, 94924, 94940, 94970, 94945, 94903, 94901, 94920, 94965, 94974, 94949, 94939, 94960, 94937 and 94956

The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the TOP 10 Senior Living & Retirement Communities in Marin County CA within the following zip codes.

Bel Marin Keys, Belvedere, Belvedere Tiburon, Black Point, Bolinas, Corte Madera, Dogtown, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Ignacio, Inverness, Kent Woodlands, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marin City, Marinwood, Marshall, Mill Valley, Muir Beach, Muir Woods, Nicasio, Novato, Point Reyes Station, San Anselmo, San Marin, San Quentin, San Rafael, Santa Venetia, Sausalito, Stinson Beach, Strawberry Point, Tamal, Tamalpais Valley, Terra Linda, Tiburon, Dillon Beach, Forest Knolls, Lagunitas, Mission Rafael, Olema, Ross, San Geronimo, Tomales, Woodacre, Almonte, Lucas Valley and Sleepy Hollow