New on The Ridge: Natalie Ng and Tom Arnold
Natalie emigrated from Hong Kong to San Francisco in 1964 and Tom moved to the area from Tennessee in 1969. Originally business acquaintances, they fell in love and married 40 years ago, spending the last 34 years in Green Valley, seven miles west of Fairfield. Natalie, an avid reader of the area’s Daily Republic Newspaper, followed Paradise Valley Estates’ growth since it was founded in 1997.
Recently, they made plans to move to the community’s newest neighborhood, The Ridge, and told us why the Life Plan Community was the ideal choice for them.
How did you find out about The Ridge?
“Ten years ago we didn’t even know continuing care retirement communities existed,” laughs Natalie. “We were visiting an artist, and he happened to live in a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in the heart of San Francisco. We were surprised to find out this was something brand new. It was very interesting, so I started to look into it.”
“We were actively looking about five years ago, mostly interested in facilities in San Francisco, Napa and Walnut Creek,” says Tom. “We thought we should visit Paradise Valley Estates since it is so close to our home. The sales and marketing staff showed us the existing housing units, the advanced care units, the dining room and also mentioned an upcoming project ‘The Ridge.’”
What about The Ridge appealed to you?
“We really like Paradise Valley Estates,” explains Natalie. “Over the past 10 years, we looked at CCRCs from Santa Barbara all the way up to Santa Rosa and visited 15 of them. We found that PVE is the most desirable, the lowest density, the setting and the way they run it — and the food is really good!”
“We think the contractual language is the single most important advantage to PVE over all the other communities,” explains Tom. “There is a trend away from offering skilled nursing in new communities we visited. Some farm you out to a related or unrelated facility at your expense. Some have skilled nursing facilities on campus, but charge residents more or less the same as the general public. If you need skilled nursing care while a resident of PVE, the cost differential from independent living is minimal. This is very important to couples, as one spouse could live in their original independent living unit and the second spouse in a higher care facility, again with a minimal cost increase.”
“PVE is also highly rated,” adds Natalie. “A couple of weeks ago the local paper rated all the higher care — assisted living and skilled nursing care — in this area and PVE is the highest rated around here.”
What type of residence did you choose?
“We had our choice of all the units, and there were two in the Villa A Building and Villa B Building that we picked because of views,” says Tom. “Our current house has 360 degree views and we wanted to replicate that to some extent. Then we decided to go back to practicality! We chose the Cottage Three (Shasta) plan because it had a livable floor plan and that gave us a higher chance of Natalie having space for a small art studio.”
“We went 180 degrees on our preferences,” laughs Tom. “We liked the villa and the view, but when it came down to it, the cottage satisfied a whole other range of requirements we had. A panoramic view was on the top of our list then space and layout became our preference,” adds Natalie.
What are you looking forward to when you move to The Ridge?
“We’re going to make the most of it. Right now we have a large, four-level house in the middle of eight acres. It’s about as private as you can get, so we’re isolated. We don’t think it’s healthy to be isolated at any point in life — particularly when you’re older,” says Tom.
What’s your advice to others who are considering a move to The Ridge?
“Sign up! You have very little to lose,” says Tom. “The physical plan, food and staff were the best we saw, certainly in Northern California.”
“Financially, for what you pay in dollar-wise, PVE isn’t the highest or the lowest, says Natalie. For everything you get, it’s the best value.”