Still Turning Heads: The Community That Set the Standard for Life Care in California Turns 60

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., Dec. 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Sequoia Living announced today that its flagship senior community, The Sequoias Portola Valley, is turning 60, and by all accounts, is still turning heads and drawing seniors to its lush setting, timeless architecture and unparalleled amenities.

In the late 1950’s, seniors had few options when it came to retirement living – especially for those who were still on the go but who knew that at some point they might need some help or even higher levels of care. But when Raymond Hanson, then an active layperson in the Presbyterian Church, was asked to consider the development of a new senior living community seven miles west of Palo Alto, he recommended building a Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC – the first of its kind on the West Coast.  Hanson and his colleagues eventually formed what is today known as Sequoia Living.

Design That Stands the Test of Time
The Sequoias Portola Valley is still a model of design and services for an industry which has seen big changes over the past few years. While urban projects offer cityscape views or rides to the opera in a Mercedes Benz, The Sequoias Portola Valley, with its one-story garden-style layout, offers timeless beauty and – a simplicity of design which blends well with its natural 42-acre setting in the California coastal range.

The community’s design was created by world renowned mid-century architects Skidmore, Owens and Merrill. Inspired by the architectural design of the famous Katsura Imperial Village in Japan, the architects created a unique layout that has stood the test of time.

Close to Nature
While new CCRC’s are being developed in urban settings across the county, there is something to be said for being able to step outside your door and hike into untouched California wilderness, enjoy drinks and a meal with friends in the late afternoon and then take in a live classical music recital without ever getting into your car. 

Dr. Rex Jamison and wife Dede, moved to Sequoias Portola Valley in 2012, after an exhaustive search. Their reason for moving in was greatly influenced by their own experiences taking care of aging parents who lived thousands of miles away. "We really did not want our children to go through what we had gone through with our aging mothers," said Dr. Jamison. During a recent interview, he spoke not only of the design and layout of the community, but also of the artistry in the landscaping, describing it as a "riot of colors", ever changing with the seasons. "It’s like no other place we looked at – here, you live outdoors as well as indoors," he said.

From cuisine that appeals to everyone, to the many activities and arts program that seeks to entertain, educate and illuminate, The Sequoias Portola Valley has something for everyone. Indeed, much of the programming available to residents have been specifically designed by the residents themselves, from art programs to author readings and music recitals to outdoor nature hikes and lawn bowling. Health and wellness programs include healthy menus, fitness room and exercises  classes including water aerobics and yoga.  And if you need a little help recovering from a medical procedure or illness, it’s right onsite in the Skilled Nursing facility.

To learn more about The Sequoias Portola Valley or book a private tour, contact them at 650-851-1501 or visit online at

About Sequoia Living
Sequoia Living, founded in 1958, provides homes and services to promote healthy aging for seniors in Northern California. Previously known as Northern California Presbyterian Homes and Services, the organization is composed of four continuing care retirement communities, three affordable housing communities, and two senior centers. Overall, Sequoia Living provides housing for 1,900 older adults and serves an additional 2,300 seniors through its community service programs. Learn more at

Contact: Marcus Young @


SOURCE Sequoia Living