In addition to its regular day services for elder and other dependent adults, most with Alzheimer’s disease, Friendship Adult Day Services has been chosen for the second year in a row as one of a handful of organizations across the United States to conduct an innovative program for those in the early stages of memory loss.

The Connections Early Memory Loss Program has been under way since January at the Montecito location, and this month a second Connections class will start up in Goleta.

The Friendship Center is expanding its services to provide better access to its programs to the Goleta community, which has a burgeoning population of elders. Eventually, full-day services will be provided at the Goleta location, as they are in Montecito.

The Connections Early Memory Loss Program provides an excellent opportunity for people in very early stages of memory loss to participate in an engaging program of fun and educational activities in a warm and welcoming environment. In addition to memory games and exercises to improve memory function, socialization and the support of peers can combat the isolation and depression often experienced by those with memory loss.

Friendship Adult Day Services joins a network of early memory loss programs in more than 200 communities in 34 states, which were begun with grants from The Brookdale Foundation Group of New York City.

“We at the foundation appreciate how important it is for people with early memory loss to remain active members of the community and to participate in programs that optimize functioning and independence,” said Stephen Schwartz, president of The Brookdale Foundation. “The Brookdale model utilizes professionals and trained volunteers to offer participants opportunities to learn techniques and skills that enhance memory and increase well-being and to enjoy camaraderie. We are delighted to assist Friendship Adult Day Services in establishing an Early Memory Loss Program to complement the other services they provide to older adults and their families in the Goleta area.”

The Connections class in Goleta will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays. The fee is $50 per class session and includes lunch.

“We look forward to welcoming people experiencing memory loss to participate in this social and educational program,” said Eryn Eckert, program and family services director. “We are now recruiting volunteers to help us make this a valuable program for those in need of this service and for their family members.”

For more information, contact Eckert at 805.969.0859 or eryn@friendshipcentersb.org. Click here for general information about Friendship Center.

— Justine Sutton is grants/development coordinator at Friendship Center.