Straight Talk

Join Our #ifiweredependent Campaign To Promote Better Resident Care (#GIVINGTUESDAY)

Everyone has their own personal preferences.  Some are straightforward: “Do you take your coffee with cream and sugar?  And, if so, how much?”  And others, involving health or safety, are a bit more nuanced:  “Do you feel invigorated or inhibited by crowds?”   We spend a lifetime perfecting and performing our way of doing things and our desire for this certain style does not magically disappear once we age and can no longer ensure it for ourselves.  

But if we can no longer perfect and perform independently, then who can we depend on to help us?   For a growing number of seniors and their families, assisted living is becoming an increasingly attractive option.  But how safe are these facilities?  How flavorful is their coffee?

Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR) is a grassroots, advocacy organization dedicated to improving resident care in assisted living facilities by (1) educating consumers and (2) increasing industry accountability.  RCFE is California’s regulatory term for assisted living.  And, CARR is the first and only 501(c) 3 in California to publish and research the public records on California’s assisted living facilities.  

The #GivingTuesday Movement --- Consider CARR

There is Black Friday.  There is Cyber Monday.  And then…there is #GivingTuesday!!

What is #GivingTuesday?  

“ #GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back.  On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, people from around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.”

With so many worthy causes deserving a contribution, how and who should you contribute to?  You can give to one or you can give to many.  You can give $20 or 20 hours.  The point is to give something so that others do not have to give up---give up their goals, their health, their rights.  You get the idea.

On Tuesday, December 2nd, we ask that you consider giving to CARR.   Here are a few ways your generosity can help transform senior care and safety in assisted living:

How To Use CARR's "Facility Snapshots"* To Narrow Down Your Facility Search

Long-term care options require extensive research, research that few consumers have the time to do, especially when an immediate need occurs.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides consumers with decipherable icons and easy access to compliance histories for skilled nursing facilities; however, this type of data is still not provided for consumers of assisted living services.  CARR was founded in 2009 to begin to fill this void and is currently the only non-profit in California providing consumers online access to the compliance histories for assisted living facilities.

But....poring over individual public documents is quite time-consuming (we should know) and, to the untrained eye, may provide little assistance when attempting to initially narrow down a facility search.  To ease this burden for the consumer, CARR has partnered with San Diego County’s Aging and Independence Services, to provide "Facility Snapshots"* on the assisted living facilities in the region.  (AIS-sponsored Facility Snapshot's are denoted on our site by this green icon). 

Governor Brown Signs 10 RCFE Bills

While this incremental reform is a step in the right direction, it is certainly not the sweeping structural changes advocates were hoping for at the beginning of the legislative session.  The impact of all of these bills is now in the hands of an already over-burdened Department of Social Services, whose track record suggests limited ability to enforce compliance and to influence improved quality of care. However, this flurry of attention and activity should signal to the industry that the veil has been lifted.  The writing on the wall says advocates and consumers will be demanding more.

The Governor signed the following bills today: 

* AB 1570 by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata): Increases training requirements for licensees and direct care staff of residential care facilities for the elderly.

* AB 1751 by Assemblymember Richard H. Bloom (D-Santa Monica): Requires resident representation on governing boards of residential care facilities for the elderly and quarterly reporting of financial statements.

* AB 1899 by Assemblymember Cheryl Brown (D-San Bernardino): Prohibits the reinstatement of a license for licensees of residential care facilities for the elderly who abandon a facility, resulting in a threat to the residents’ health and safety.

* AB 2044 by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona): Enacts additional staffing and health and safety requirements at residential care facilities for the elderly.

September 8th - National Grandparents Day!

My grandparents and great grandparents were instrumental in my appreciation for all life has to offer...on an ongoing basis.  In many ways, CARR began when I was between four and seven.  My (great) grandparents were chicken and sugarcane farmers well into their 60s and 70s.  I was fascinated by how they consistently adapted to changes brought in from outside influences while still maintaining their perfected way of doing things.  And, when their physical bodies began to fail them, their desire to remain engaged and to continue to participate in all they loved (including me) made a big impression.

As a mother of three, I want my kiddos to grow up with the same mindset that age is nothing but a number and adaptation is the name of the game.  To that end, I researched extensively the representation of older adults and aging in children's literature and created a book for little minds to be able to understand and embrace the realities of aging.

I invite you to purchase one of these books for the children in your life in honor of Grandparents Day.  With so much media attention on "The Silver Tsunami" and in an era of photoshop and anti-aging products, the beauty of living a long life can be lost.  All proceeds benefit CARR's advocacy work.  Please contact us at or (619) 795-2165.

Cheers to the older adult in all of us! 




Need A Crash Course in Assisted Living 101? Watch Our Webinar.

CARR was recently invited to share what we know about California's assisted living industry by the Caregiver Coalition.  The Caregiver Coalition of San Diego offers a series of webinars focused on topics relevant to those caring for an aging relative and professionals in the field of aging.

You can now access valuable information about assisted living in California and making an informed placement decision anywhere you can access the internet at a time convenient for you.

To access the webinar click here and search under Webinar Registration.  If after watching you would like more detailed information or would like to share this information with friends, CARR is happy to present to any size audience any of our presentations

7 More Counties Now on CARR's Website

CARR now proudly offers consumers a number of facilities online that are outside of the San Diego regional area.  Our commitment to you, the informed consumer, has made this possible.  For every facility profile you are able to conveniently review on your personal computer or mobile device, we have dedicated approximately 6-8 hours behind the scenes collecting and transforming the public documents into the user-friendly display you see.

Please share these new additions within your network for the benefit of consumers living in these areas.  And do not forget, we also offer online all CAL Vet assisted living facilities.  

A Safe Place for Mom and/or Dad

By now, we all know someone contending with the needs of an aging family member.  And while aging and dependency are not synonymous, there does come a point in time (be it brief or extended) where reliance on others will enter the picture.  Sound familiar:

“I am worried about my aging mother continuing to live alone.  Her memory-loss is becoming more apparent.  Her ability to drive herself to the store and appointments is diminishing.  Her overall health and functioning seem to be declining.   I feel she would be safer with more assistance and supervision.”

           “I do not know what to do about my aging father.  Since my mother passed, I worry about him being alone.  He can no longer keep up the house.  His medication regimen is quite complicated.  And his gait has changed, I worry he may fall as a result and I will not be there to help him.  I feel he would be more comfortable with some additional help and prompting.”

And so, the search for support is triggered. 

Nowadays, most families start with the Internet using search engines to generate potential leads.  Typically, they are overwhelmed and find themselves inundated with choices, providers, articles and organizations.  And their hearts sink as they discover they have no easy, reliable way of distinguishing the increasingly common entrepreneur from the knowledgeable provider committed to seniors themselves. 

CARR Urges YES Vote on Prop 42

Access to the public record is vital to Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform. Proposition 42 strengthens California's Public Record Act (CPRA), and will require all public entities to comply with the CPRA - compliance will no longer be discretionary. CARR is a firm and ardent supporter of public transparency law, and urges your YES vote on this important tool to keep government transparent. 

In fairness and for full disclosure of information, Ballotpedia offers pros and cons of the legislation.  

CARR's Public Comment at the Joint Human Services Committee Oversight Hearing

CARR's advocates Chrisy Selder and Chris Murphy trekked to Sacramento to attend the 11 February oversight hearings called by Joint Chairs of the Human Services Committee: Senator Yee and Assemblyman Stone.  The legislators heard from 13 hand-picked individuals across the spectrum of stakeholders. 

The genesis of these hearings was a direct result of two events:  the constellation of investigative reports ("Deadly Neglect") on assisted living in San Diego published by the UTSanDiego on 9 September 2013, and the October bungled closure of a Castro Valley RCFE where CCL closed the facility but did not provide for the care or relocation of the residents; 48 hours after being abandoned by the licensee and the regulators, 19 residents were found still living in the facility, unattended and in squalor.  

Following three and a half hours of testimony by the witnesses, the floor was opened for public comment. Due to shortness of time, each member of the public was limited to about 1 minute, but our comments below were prepared for a total of 4 minutes.  Nine organizations and/or individuals spoke, including CARR. CARR's full remarks are provided below:

"Hi, I am Christina Selder, co-founder of Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform or CARR for short. CARR is a San Diego based 501(c)3 which advocates for consumer protections related to assisted living facilities.