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The Fisher House Residential-Care Facility Inspired By Desire to Help Those in Need

Seniors who are unable to live by themselves find a place just like home

While traveling in India in the mid-1970s, Efale McFarland was in a serious auto accident during a visit to Nepal. Her injuries from the head-on collision were so extensive that she could not be moved. There was no chance of transport back home to California to be with family and get expert medical treatment close to her San Francisco home.

McFarland’s fate was to lie on her back on a slab for three months with minimal, or no, movement. If she did what the doctors told her, they said, her chance of a full recovery was possible.

It was McFarland’s good fortune that a prominent Indian family (whom she did not know at the time) took her in, offered their home and cared for her until she could walk again, return to the United States and continue the road to full recovery. This experience, McFarland realized, planted a seed deep within her heart that she, too, would some day offer help and a home to others in need.

McFarland opened The Fisher House in Santa Barbara more than 14 years ago. The facility at 2324 Chapala St. offers assisted living to seniors and a home with a level of residential care that they can not get elsewhere.

The Fisher House is a fully licensed Residential-Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) open to seniors 62 and over who are unable to live by themselves, but who do not need 24-hour nursing care. The current resident roster includes one woman who has called The Fisher House her home for 10 years. There are two additional residents, one with a stay of five years and the other four years.

Residential-care facilities like The Fisher House offer an affordable alternative to the high cost of long-term elderly care at typically a third to one-half the cost.

The Fisher House is located at 2324 Chapala St. in a quiet neighborhood near Santa Barbara's Upper Eastside.
The Fisher House is located at 2324 Chapala St. in a quiet neighborhood near Santa Barbara’s Upper Eastside. (John Conroy / Noozhawk photo)

The Fisher House — with its full-time staff of two, in addition to McFarland — provides room, board, housekeeping, supervision and personal care assistance, as well as other senior services along with basic activities like personal hygiene, dressing, eating and walking. In addition, food and medication management is provided by the friendly and supportive staff. The Fisher House provides a home-like environment while delivering the highest level of personal care.

The Fisher House also offers residents some above and beyond services that are rarely offered by other residential-care facilities. First and foremost is pet therapy. This service is provided by the two resident border terriers, Spirit and Tula. With their funny and playful personalities, they are constant companions to the residents. Most important, “they love to be with you,” McFarland said.

Three times a week residents are visited by Brian Rausch, a physical therapist who works wonders getting everyone involved in activity. A personal hair stylist/manicurist from Legends Hair Etc. visits every other week for a chance for some pampering!

If you or your family need more information concerning Santa Barbara senior living, or for more detailed information on The Fisher House, contact Efale McFarland at 805.687.4646 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to arrange an appointment. Click here for additional information.

— John Conroy is a contributing writer and photographer for Noozhawk. See more of his photography at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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