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Friendship Center to Extend Its Reach with New Facility

The nonprofit is bringing its day care program and services for aging adults to the Goleta Valley

A lead grant of $64,185 from the Archstone Foundation this summer kicked off a project that has been in the planning stages for much of the past year. Friendship Adult Day Care Center Inc. is expanding its services from the current Montecito location to better serve the Goleta area.

The expansion will be achieved by launching a new site — a second adult day services center in the Goleta Valley area, where the population of age 60-plus is burgeoning. This will significantly improve accessibility to day care for older adults and their family caregivers in that area.

Some Friendship Center members who live in the Goleta area currently ride the center’s van up to an hour each way to attend, while others are transported by family members. Violet brings both her parents to the center from the northern edge of Goleta, and due to her mother’s anxiety over freeway driving, must take surface streets only.

“Every one-way trip can take me up to one hour, traveling the back roads,” she said. “Last year during the holiday season it took me one and a half hours to get from Turnpike to Friendship Center on the freeway! It’s been very difficult for me, and I often feel drained and fatigued. I lose so much precious time, time with my 4-year-old daughter, time to run errands or just some ‘me’ time. Having a Friendship Center in Goleta will be a huge blessing to us and will remove so much stress from my life. I’m so excited for this expansion!”

The vital respite provided to caregivers improves their abilities to care for their loved ones by freeing up their time for other responsibilities, self-care and rest, and by reducing stress. As testified by family caregivers, day services often prevent or delay costly in-home nursing, placement in long-term care facilities or hospitalization, allowing families to stay together longer.

Another beneficial aspect of this expansion of services to the north is extension of the center’s service area to the south. With a new center in Goleta and its Goleta-resident members relocated to attendance there, space will be freed up at the current center for those in Summerland and Carpinteria. The Goleta and Carpinteria areas are both growing rapidly, with ever-increasing populations of elders.

Thus, the need is great in these regions, and the new site will allow Friendship Center to better serve all areas of the community.

This expanded reach enables Friendship Center to double program participants not only in the Adult Day Program, but in its other programs for older adults with early memory loss such as Connections, a weekly support group and cognitive fitness class, and Adventuresome Aging, a program focused on outings and current events. Ultimately, this timely collaborative community effort to provide accessible and affordable adult day services supports the health and well-being of South Santa Barbara County’s older adults who wish to age-in-community and continue to dwell at home as long as possible.

In a yearly survey of family caregivers, responses show that the center is successfully accomplishing its goals and fulfilling its mission: to preserve and enrich the quality of life for aging and dependent adults through innovative programs that value the dignity and worth of every person. It provides respite, support and education, enabling families to continue to be engaged in their community, careers and commitments.

In addition to Archstone’s grant, the center raised funds for the project in August with its first-ever summer benefit event, a Friday afternoon wine tasting affectionately dubbed the “Wine-Down.”

— Justine Sutton is grants/development coordinator at Friendship Adult Day Care Center Inc..

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