Las Casitas Assisted Living

Resident, Family and Community Comments

Assisted-living facility to open (Written Summer 2004)

By Jackson Bell
The Leader

Las Casitas entranceNORTHWEST DISTRICT -- With Las Casitas slated to open late next month, owner Sheila Gonzalez plans to offer a third choice for seniors in types of assisted-living care.

Las Casitas, a 15-unit, 5,500-square-foot building at 1633 N. Hollywood Way, will provide more individual attention than the 145-unit Belmont Village, but will also allow more privacy than small assisted-living homes that occupy five or six seniors, Gonzalez said.

"It's like life. A small group of people conflict sometimes, and a lot of the patients get disoriented and overwhelmed at the bigger facilities," she said. "This is just the right balance."

Gonzalez, a registered nurse, and her husband, a physician, spent $1 million to renovate the one-story, U-shaped apartment into a Mediterranean-style building for seniors 60 and older. The features include an intercom system, kitchenettes in each unit, patio area for barbecuing, hallways with wall edges that are rounded and a manager who lives on site.

For every resident, there will be nearly one staffer to provide such assistance as showering, dressing and preparing food, Gonzalez said. The monthly cost will be $3,000 for shared rooms and $3,500 for singles.

"I'm happy to have an assisted-living facility of this type in the city because the need is tremendous and growing rapidly as the baby boomers get older and move into retirement," Vice Mayor Jef Vander Borght said.

Gonzalez and her husband own and operate Van Nuys-based Medicina Familiar Medical Group Inc., which is a primary-care clinic. Las Casitas, however, is their first foray into assisted living.

Neighbor Roland Morehead, himself a senior, believes the new facility will help spruce up the block and won't bring more traffic since the patients usually don't drive.

"I have no objection to them moving in," Morehead said. "The building's renovation will be a great improvement to the area and will probably increase property value."

Sonia Mariscal, who lives a few apartment buildings up the street, prefers living close to seniors.

"It makes the neighborhood quieter since they aren't teens who will be rowdy and noisy," Mariscal said.

For more information on Las Casitas, call (818) 238-9951.