JASEB begins process to license Cypress House for East Bay seniors

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The Japanese American Services of the East Bay, Inc. (JASEB) announced on June 29 that it has begun the process to license the JASEB Home (Cypress House) in Hayward, Calif., as a “licensed residential care facility for the elderly (also known as board and care or assisted living).”

The decision follows multiple months of review and evaluation of the various alternatives, the nonprofit said in a statement.

JASEB, which provides assistance and services for seniors in California’s Alameda and Contra Costa counties, had announced in late September 2009 that it intended to end its association with the home.

After looking at the community’s needs, and JASEB’s best interests, however, the decision “makes the most sense,” Bruce Hironaka, JASEB board president and (volunteer) interim executive director, told the Nichi Bei Weekly.

The other options, Hironaka said, included selling the home, or finding another use for it.

According to Hironaka, JASEB’s decision comes in part as a response to the community’s needs.

“We are very excited by this decision since it will allow us to create a home that is sensitive to the culture, language, and elder care traditions of the Nikkei community and that will comply with all relevant laws and regulations,” Hironaka said in a statement.

“Input from the community demonstrated a desire for JASEB to provide a housing alternative when living independently becomes difficult. We intend to have a home that provides a high quality of care in a safe and stimulating environment.”

Betty Ozawa, whose mother-in-law Ayako Ozawa was a Cypress House resident from 2000 to 2004, said she was “very happy” that JASEB is undergoing the process to make Cypress Home a licensed facility. Ayako Ozawa, a former Cypress House resident, passed away at age 99, about two weeks after suffering injuries while living at the home, Ozawa said.

Once the licensing process is completed, “the institution can be accountable for whatever happens,” Ozawa said.

JASEB is in the process of hiring a licensed administrator who will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the home. According to Hironaka, JASEB hopes to hire the person “within the next month or so.”

Some structural modifications to the home, which once had 12 beds, will likely be made. Once the changes have been made, JASEB may offer more single than double rooms, Hironaka said, citing input from residents’ family members.

Hironaka said that it is unlikely that the Channing Way House — another JASEB housing facility — will undergo the process to be licensed.

JASEB had previously extended the original closure date of March 31, 2010 for the Hayward, Calif. home by an additional three months. Also, at the request of the families at the Channing Way House, JASEB has set a closure date of Feb. 28, 2011, two months later than requested by the families, and a full 17 months after the closure decision was made.

For more information about JASEB, call (510) 848-3560 or visit www.jaseb.org.

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