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A Home for Retiring Expatriates in the Heart of Laguna

Nestled in the warmth of Mount Makiling's leisurely embrace, 'Golden Sunset' is redefining retirement for Filipino expatriates


LIFE IN THE SOUTH


There’s an interesting retirement facility in Laguna. Set at the base of Mount Makiling, Golden Sunset Elderly Home Care Services is a bit snazzier than most retirement facilities. It’s meant to house Filipino expatriates who have chosen to return to their homeland for their retirement years, but it could be mistaken for a leisure resort.



‘Golden Sunset’ was founded by a group of retired professionals who purposed the facility mainly for the care of retiring OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers). The chief executive officer, Fe Tolentino-Zosa, describes Golden Sunset as an "assisted living facility" rather than a conventional nursing home. Unlike nursing homes that focus on hospice care for the sick and terminally ill, Golden Sunset is designed to meet the social and personal needs of its residents. The facility offers a wide range of services including personal care, medication management, social activities, meals, housekeeping, and laundry, all tailored to enhance the quality of life for its residents.



The retirement home is strategically located adjacent to the University of the Philippines campus in Los Baños, sprawling across a half-hectare of lush land. This location not only provides a tranquil environment but also fosters a sense of community among the residents. The facility's community-oriented approach is pivotal, creating an environment where residents can thrive as a cohesive and supportive community.



The ethos of Golden Sunset is deeply influenced by the personal history of its founder, Fe Tolentino-Zosa. Inspired by her mother, Gregoria Tolentino, who passed away at 96, Zosa established the facility in her memory. Despite her background in finance, graduating magna cum laude from the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas and holding significant positions at prominent companies like IBM Philippines and Meralco, Zosa ventured into elderly care to honor her mother's legacy.



Zosa points out that Filipino culture traditionally supports familial caregiving, with older family members typically residing with younger relatives. However, changing lifestyles and the geographical dispersion of families have increased the demand for institutional care options. Golden Sunset offers a non-clinical, non-skilled care model that relies on trained caregivers rather than licensed nurses or therapists, distinguishing it from more medicalized facilities.



The retirement home began operating in 2022 and continues to undergo development and expansion. The facility features three buildings, each subdivided into eight apartment units, with amenities including a swimming pool and two gazebos for social gatherings. A rooftop area is also available for larger events. The setting amidst extensive greenery offers residents a quiet and relaxing atmosphere, crucial for those seeking peace in their retirement.


Plans for future expansion and continuous improvement of services are in place as Golden Sunset aims to further institutionalize its offerings. The staff comprises well-trained caregivers who are adept at managing a range of needs, including those of more challenging residents. Competitive salaries help retain these skilled workers, ensuring continuity and stability within the caregiving team.


Golden Sunset not only represents a significant development in local retirement living options but also underscores the broader trend of returning expatriates seeking to reconnect with their cultural roots while ensuring they have access to dignified and empathetic care. As more retirees of Filipino descent return, the culture of hospitality and warmth prevalent in Filipino society stands out, making facilities like Golden Sunset an attractive choice for those looking to spend their twilight years in familiar, yet supportive surroundings. Mount Makiling, known for its academic and artistic residents, can now also be known as a haven for retirees, blending the tranquility of nature with the comforts of community-oriented living.

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