Crescent Landing Residents

Residents of Crescent Landing at Fullerton Memory Care celebrate the remodel that brought new life into the building, complete with lively art and bright decor. (Raniel Santos / Daily Titan)

The grand re-opening of Crescent Landing at Fullerton Memory Care last Wednesday brought guests’ attention to their unique approach to caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, and displayed the center’s vivacious remodel.

Crescent Landing, located at 1510 E. Commonwealth Ave. originally opened in 1993 as Fullerton Gardens Memory Care. It serves residents of Fullerton, Brea, Placentia, Anaheim, San Dimas and other surrounding areas. Additionally, it is located near local attractions such as Craig Regional Park, Laguna Lake Park, Muckenthaler Cultural Center and the Fullerton Arboretum.

Lifestyle Director Carolina Salas described the old Crescent Landing building as akin to a hospital: dark, depressing and gloomy. Compared to this, the remodeled building is brightly lit, with brightly colored paintings on the walls. This remodel was done with the intention of bringing it back to life. Despite this, the main house in front was preserved as its administrative department to honor its founding.

Inside the lively new building, Crescent Landing showcased its SPARK program, introduced by new parent company Frontier Management. Applying the Montessori method of education to Alzheimer’s patients, the program seeks to give residents a renewed sense of purpose by having them engage in rehabilitating activities.

Such activities include art therapy, crafts, baking and cooking classes, lunch outings, puzzle night, veterans’ celebrations and music therapy, which has proven to be the most successful activity. They are also able to grow and tend to plants outdoors at the Friendship Garden or indoors with the Eldergrow gardening club. 

Under the SPARK program, residents are also given the freedom to run their own businesses. One resident, Annie Jones, makes drinks under the business moniker Annie’s Bees Knees, and guests over 21 were given a package containing ingredients for the business’ signature drink on their way out.

The grand re-opening theme celebrated the 1930s, the time period in which the original facility was built. There was also elegant movie-themed decor, with 1930s movie posters plastered on the walls and red carpets welcoming guests dressed for a movie premiere. The afternoon was accompanied by sweet saxophone music and vocal renditions of classic songs courtesy of multi-instrumentalist Bruce Gallucci.

Estella Niche and her family were the original owners of Fullerton Gardens.  In need of both a secure environment and an area where their loved ones could be free to roam outside, they purchased what became the original house of Fullerton Gardens.

They later expanded to accommodate more residents by buying out the surrounding properties, including what became the titular gardens. However, they sold the properties following the death of their daughter. Since then,it has been managed in recent years by Frontier Management, who rebranded it as Crescent Landing.

Other guests attending the event were there to support both the services of Crescent Landing and their own similar services, like Cal State Fullerton alumni Brent Rodriguez and Linda Hawa from the mobile physicians group Geiss MED. Rodriguez supports the notion that caretakers at Crescent Landing treat its residents like family.

“What’s different and unique about this community is the team. It’s the experiences that they create every day for the residents who live here,” Rodriguez said. “Having a community where there are engaging activities, they're looking at their hobbies, interests, occupation, and religion, and finding ways to connect with the residents and not just saying we’re all gonna play bingo that day.”

One key member of this team is Rosa Jaime de Ramirez, who works at Crescent Landing as a medication technician.

“It’s a wonderful place to work. For me, I’ve been here for five years,” Ramirez said. “A little more, so I know my residents.”

Salas stated that most of the residents of Crescent Landing were excited about the re-opening.

“Anytime to see visitors they love, especially after COVID. They love people. You know, they love seeing different faces, new faces, loved ones,” Salas said.

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