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Your Health
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Friendship Center Helping Goleta Residents with Memory Loss Make ‘Connections’

Classes provide the opportunity for memory-enhancing games as well as a social outlet

The Friendship Adult Day Services Center, the only nonprofit adult day services center on the South Coast, has been chosen for the second year in a row as one of a handful of organizations across the country to implement an innovative program for those experiencing the early stages of memory loss.

The Connections Early Memory Loss Program, initiated at the Friendship Center’s Montecito location in January 2010, established weekly Connections classes in Goleta last fall.

Connections Early Memory Loss classes provide an excellent opportunity for those at this stage to participate in an engaging program of fun and educational activities in a warm and welcoming environment. Participants enjoy memory-enhancing games and puzzles as well as beneficial social time with their peers and decreasing incidences of isolation and depression.

The Friendship Center joins a network of programs in more than 200 communities in 34 states launched with the support of 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 optimizing independence and self-confidence,” said Stephen Schwartz, president of The Brookdale Foundation Group. “The Brookdale model utilizes professionals and trained volunteers to offer those with early memory loss opportunities to learn techniques and skills to enhance memory and increase well-being as well as enjoying camaraderie. We are delighted to assist Friendship Center Adult Day Services in establishing this program in the Goleta area to complement the other services they provide to dependent adults and their families.”

Connections classes in Goleta take place Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include lunch. The fee is $50 per session, to supplement costs not covered by the Brookdale funding, with limited scholarships available. There are also Connections classes on Mondays in Montecito at All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, adjacent to the Friendship Center.

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

Those in further stages of dementia or experiencing other cognitive disabilities may be eligible to attend the Friendship Center’s full adult day services program, providing compassionate, affordable care, including social interaction, mentally stimulating activities, meals and transportation.

Watch for news about the Friendship Center opening its second site in Goleta this summer! For more information about Connections classes or the Friendship Center’s adult day services, contact Eckert at 805.969.0859 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Justine Sutton is the grants/development coordinator for Friendship Center.

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