The third week of September each year, National Adult Day Services Week is focused on raising awareness of the availability and accessibility of adult day programs and educating the public on the benefits they provide. This year it is Sept. 16-22, with the theme “Enriching Lives Through Wellness and Creativity.”
“Adult day services are a vital element in maintaining the well-being of those affected by dementia,” said Dr. Robert Harbaugh, a Santa Barbara neurologist.
Indeed, adult day programs such as Friendship Center are a critical component in the continuum of community-based, long-term care. Friendship Center stands alone, however, as the only full-service, supervised, nonprofit day services program in Southern Santa Barbara County, with centers in Montecito and Goleta.
Friendship Center offers compassionate, professional and affordable day services to aging and dependent adults and their families, including a lively daily schedule of activities designed to engage participants socially and mentally, as well as meals, transportation, and support groups for caregivers.
Studies have shown socialization to be the key to reducing the depression that so often accompanies memory loss. While the majority of participants have Alzheimer’s disease, others are recovering from strokes or have other cognitive disabilities. A contract with Veterans Affairs provides for daily services for qualified veterans at no cost.
Specialized programs are provided for those in the early stages of memory loss as well as those experiencing more advanced stages. The GOLD (Growing Old) Project is an intergenerational program where elders visit local classrooms to interact with young children and share life experiences. The Adventuresome Aging Program allows small groups of seniors to enjoy excursions to community attractions, along with lunch.
In 2009, Friendship Center was chosen by the Brookdale Foundation as one of 15 organizations nationwide to establish the Connections Early Memory Loss Program, and its staff attended specialized training.
This weekly “brain fitness” class takes place Mondays in Montecito and Wednesdays in Goleta, integrating games, puzzles, and memory enhancement exercises with a support group component. The camaraderie experienced in all of these programs allows participants to feel more positive, self-reliant and included in their community.
Join us at Friendship Center for two chances to celebrate National Adult Day Services Week with coffee and doughnuts from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. both days — at our Goleta Center, 820 N. Fairview Ave., on Tuesday, Sept. 18, and at the Montecito Center, 89 Eucalyptus Lane, on Wednesday, Sept. 19.
— Justine Sutton is grants/development coordinator at Friendship Center.