Treating elderly with dignity at core of Huntington Manor – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Just because senior citizens might need help with their daily lives, it doesn’t mean they should lose their dignity or have to stop doing things they enjoy.

At Huntington Manor Assisted Living Community in Poway, owner Zayden Chen says they don’t have to.

“We’re very proud of the care we give our residents,” Chen said. “We are an assisted living community. When an elder is no longer able to live by themselves and the family would like additional help on a daily basis — such as helping the person get out of bed, get dressed, go to the bathroom and shower and even eat — that is at the core of what we do. By helping with these daily tasks, the person can go on and live their days.”

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The manor specializes in end of life care, including hospice care, respite care and short-term and long-term rehabilitation. It is different from a nursing home.

“Nursing homes, modern day skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers — these all provide medical services from skilled nurses,” Chen said. “They help with recovery after going to a hospital, such as speech therapy.”

“Assisted living facilities do not provide medical services, but help for daily living. For example, someone might go into a hospital for a broken hip. After they have recovered, however, they might be unable to live alone anymore,” he said.

For most people, the options at this point are to take care of the other person 24/7, usually by either a family member or hiring someone, or to enter assisted living.

“We’re like a home with a person always around to help out. You can think of it like a college campus, where you live in a dorm room, but there are lots of people all around to help you with what you need,” Chen said.

With their deep respect for the elderly, the staff are a big part of the success of Huntington Manor.

“Tess DeRafera, our head administrator, has worked at the manor for more than 20 years,” he said. “She oversees operations and is very hands-on; she even lives on site.”

Including DeRafera, there are 20 people on staff, including administration, caregivers, a chef and housekeeping.

Opened in 1996, Huntington Manor includes 27 private units consisting of one smaller building with six rooms and a central building with 21 rooms.

Located at 14755 Budwin Lane in Poway, it also includes 2.6 acres of land. There is a rose garden on site. The large vegetable garden — which even provides some of the food for the facility — is being renovated.

“Our philosophy behind the garden is that it feels good to be in nature and to be connected,” Chen said. “When we surround our residents with beauty, it speaks to the heart.”

Residents can enjoy a koi pond and chicken coop, as well as leisurely walks around the garden grounds. Newly installed picnic tables are open to the public, Chen said.

The manor treats its residents like family, and strives to ensure everyone is part of a community where they can make friends, play board games, exercise, take part in numerous activities and generally do what they enjoy doing.

Although many of the residents are from Poway and surrounding areas, they also have several residents from out of state.

For families not able to afford the high cost of assisted living care, Chen said MediCal might be able to help, and to contact the facility if interested in learning more.

They are also looking to grow their business.

“We are looking to expand our footprint; we believe we can make a positive impact on the San Diego community and are looking for new acquisitions or facilities,” Chen said. The facilities do not have to be located in Poway.

For more information, visit, on Facebook – Huntington Manor Assisted Living Facility or call 858-748-3381.