A Revolution in Senior Care in the Island City


Senior care experts and AEC Living CEO and COO, Lauren Zimmerman Cook and Stephen Zimmerman, now lead the 47-year old Alameda-based AEC Living senior community and elder care business they’ve taken over from their father, Christian Zimmerman. Chris started AEC Living in 1971 with a single facility, which has grown to two independently operated assisted-living and memory-care communities, a 55-and-older senior co-housing community, a home care services and an outpatient Medicare-approved senior wellness and therapy agency.

The younger Zimmermans have certainly made their own mark since taking over the family business. Lauren is a licensed nursing home administrator and has a graduate degree in Gerontology and multiple masters in Law and Business, Stephen is a licensed Residential Care for Elderly Administrator with a graduate degree in Gerontology.

They have overseen a leading-edge remodel of their memory-care facility for elders diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Dementia that improved resident and staff happiness significantly. 

Next, they opened AES Therapy and Fitness in two locations in Alameda — facilities that specialize in therapy and wellness services for seniors. The outpatient clinic’s goal is to help seniors maintain and regain their fitness, strength, balance and confidence through specialized physical therapy or personal training sessions tailored to their specific needs and goals.
Seeing the need in the community for seniors who wish to age at home and need specialized and accessible home care, the Zimmermans launched AEC Home Care to provide in-home personal care for seniors.

They also created a community publication, Alameda Senior Magazine that focuses on seniors in Alameda and the surrounding community.

Investing in Staff
Non-clinical positions in elder care have notoriously high turnover. Lauren and Stephen have made huge strides in addressing this issue by making AEC Living a place where employees want to stay and grow — and they do. The company regularly celebrates employees’ five-, 10- and 20-year anniversaries.

The Zimmermans see that competition is fierce for some of their housekeeping and janitorial jobs with similar-wage positions in the restaurant and hospitality industry. So they’ve invested directly in scholarships, professional training and certification for entry-level employees who wish to grow with them.

They also have a formal administrative program where people can enter the company in a clerical office or entry level and AEC Living will help them earn certain licenses and grow into a managerial position with the company. They treat their employees the way they want their employees to treat their residents and other clientele, with kindness. It is not unusual to see employees stay at AEC Living — and coworkers who are immediate family members.

What’s Next?
AEC living is one of just five mid-sized, family-owned senior assisted-living providers in the country. Committed to staying independent, AEC Living continues to strive to deliver the very best programs and senior-living options possible to serve the senior population of the East Bay. 

The Zimmermans continue to focus on quality and care where the roots of the company are set and to make that affordable. 

They are growing the company’s services both inside and outside of its current operations, working hard to recruit quality staff at every level. They post jobs regularly on their website at www.aecliving.com/careers.

Both Julie and Stephen are very active in the community, giving back and participating in the nonprofits that make a difference. They hold many board positions in organizations throughout Oakland and Alameda, including the Rotary Club, Girls Inc., The Boy Scouts, The Chamber of Commerce and others.

The West End is home to the Zimmerman’s Elder’s Inn senior-living facility at 1721 Webster St.