Members of the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center announced plans this week to build a $7-million assisted living home for elderly people who need daily help with personal care and preparing food.
The 100-bed home, to be called Nikkei Senior Gardens, will offer traditional Asian food, Japanese strolling gardens and such activities as bonsai tree sculpting.
"In some instances, because seniors are living much longer, sometimes families move and the elderly are left here without any family," said Harold Muraoka, 67, a co-chairman of the Senior Gardens project. "In the past, it used to be that the families would take care of the parents. It was a cultural thing."
But traditions are changing, he said. "The younger generation today doesn't have the same type of outlook that their parents and grandparents had," he said.
In 1983, the community center built Nikkei Village, a retirement home for senior citizens whose families lived nearby and could visit often. But as the residents have grown older, Muraoka said, it is clear they need a facility with more daily care.
A Japanese American family offered to sell the community center a three-acre property about a block from the center, Muraoka said.
Depending on how quickly the funds are raised, the assisted living home could be built in three to five years, he said.