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How We Started

How We Started

Ali and Amir MEA
Amir (left), Ali (right)

Family Black and White Picture
From left to right: Baba (our grandfather); Soudy (mom with Ali on her lap); Madar (our great grandmother holding Amir); Mehdi (our dad); Nayer (our grandmother)

Amir and Madar Color
Amir with Mader (our great grandmother)

Ali and Amir as Kids
Ali (left), Amir (right)

We are two brothers, two years apart. Our story starts in Iran. We came to California in the late ‘70s as kids while the country was going through a revolution and our parents were getting divorced. Our grandparents came with us and anchored our new lives. Baba, our grandfather, shuttled us to school in Marin every morning, driving under the speed limit and still arriving before the bell. Nayer, our grandmother, made us breakfast with hand squeezed orange juice and packed lunches with savory stews that surprised our curious friends. Looking back, we see their enormous impact on our lives. Our deep love for elders starts with them.

Fast forward, in our late ‘20s we fell into the world of senior housing by accident, though nothing really happens by accident. We were called to help our half brother Nader and his friend Earle with a small senior care home in San Francisco. We left our new carriers in law and finance, rolled up our sleeves and began our journey of caring for elders. We had no idea what we were doing other than intuition and experience from our grandparents. It felt natural and right.

A curious thing was happening back then. The more care you needed as a senior, the more likely you would end up in hospital settings like a nursing home. Holistic care in a beautiful environment was hard to find or hardly available. We set to change that paradigm.

We decided to build our projects in urban infill locations so seniors could remain an active part of the community and still enjoy walking to local cafes and restaurants. This way, we could also be closer to them. We believe young and old living in the same neighborhood creates more vibrant communities. Supporting this diversity is our goal, even if seeing someone older makes us uncomfortable about our own aging.

Our developments are centered in the Bay Area intentionally. We grew up here and went to UC Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union. We know there is a great need and we want to give back. There is also a challenging approval process where our local involvement can create compelling housing options for our communities. We want to have a short drive to our projects, keep a healthy work-life balance and provide the attention to detail people value.

We are passionate about building engaging spaces that welcome kids and promote intergenerational programming along with mindfulness based programs that support our residents and care partners.

Twenty five years have passed in a blink of any eye since we started. We believe senior housing has improved dramatically in terms of quality and options. Still, there is much more we can do to place elders in the center of town squares, like many cultures around the world where spending time with them is more a privilege than a chore. And that is why we continue our work.