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Your Health
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Oak Cottage of Santa Barbara Takes Part in Alzheimer’s Conference

From left, Julie McGeever of McGeever Management, Dr. Robert Harbaugh of Santa Barbara Neurologists, Rosemarie Harris of Heritage House and Jay Blatter of Hochhauser Blatter Architects.
From left, Julie McGeever of McGeever Management, Dr. Robert Harbaugh of Santa Barbara Neurologists, Rosemarie Harris of Heritage House and Jay Blatter of Hochhauser Blatter Architects. (Oak Cottage of Santa Barbara photo)

Highlighted and applauded at the most recent Alzheimer’s conference, “Dementia: Current Trends & Future Directions” held at the Montecito Country Club, architect Jay Blatter, neurologist Dr. Robert Harbaugh and Rosemarie Harris, executive director at Heritage House, along with Julie McGeever of McGeever Management all contributed to the conference.

Oak Cottage is the newest senior memory care community in Santa Barbara, focusing specifically on care and empowerment for residents with age-related cognitive decline. The project is the brain-child of Mark and Valerie Maldonado, who envisioned a family owned and operated project, embedded within the fabric of the Santa Barbara community. They partnered with McGeever Management — which owns and operates the assisted living community Heritage House, also located in Santa Barbara — to bring an elevated approach to care at Oak Cottage.

Hochhauser Blatter working in conjunction with Santa Barbara Neuroligists and Geriatric designers developed a community whereby a safe and engaging environment was as paramount in the design, as is the activity and therapy programs offered to each resident.

Nestled within the residential 1800 block of De la Vina Street, the project has been designed in an art and crafts vernacular, with deep porches, high ceilings and gracious windows allowing maximum access to natural light and beautiful views of the area.

Forty apartments are split into three intimate neighborhoods, each graced with a large grand living area offering immediate access to activities programming, one on one personalized medical oversight, and farm to table dining.

Residents suffering from Alzheimer’s or other age-related dementia are given every opportunity to maintain their existing abilities, and to receive assistance with physical ambulation, memory prompts, and whole body wellness.

Oak Cottage’s staff has been trained in the latest care protocols focusing on dementia capable care, the intent of which is to remove frustrating physical and intellectual barriers, and focus instead on those activities a resident can still participate in successfully, and with enjoyment. Oak Cottage has also become certified as part of the nationally acclaimed Music and Memory program, which uses personalized playlists for each resident to use on I-shuffles, or as part of a larger activity within their neighborhood. Oak Cottage has partnered with local vendors wherever possible in creating their dining program, focusing on local farmer’s produce, meats and seafood. Meals are event worthy, welcome the whole family, and include multiple choices to encourage appetite, hydration and overall well-being.

— Joe Franken is executive director of the Oak Cottage of Santa Barbara.

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