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You’ve Got a Friend in Me: Friendship Center Finds a Way to Stay Connected

by BY STEVEN LIBOWITZ , Montecito Journal Friendship Center serves an often overlooked, but much-needed niche for the aging adult community — providing a daytime home away from home where the dependent seniors can take advantage of companionship and engaging activities. They also receive necessary supervision while their family caregivers receive respite and a much-needed break from the demands of…

Judith Ewing, MFT, Receives Individual Award

By Laurie Mason Program & Communications Coordinator Friendship Center is proud to announce it was awarded “Caregiver of the Year” for a facility by the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens Area Agency on Aging in honor of Older Americans Month. “Friendship Center has been very successful in providing live virtual classes five days a week,” writes Sue Larsen of…

Friendship Center to Roll Out Hybrid Schedule

By Laurie Mason Program & Communications Coordinator As the State of California inches toward a comprehensive reopening plan, Friendship Center members and caregivers will be heartened to know that our own reopening plan has been in the works for months. The new hybrid plan incorporates both onsite and Zoom activities as it transitions toward fully re-opening. “We’re pleased to announce…

Take Care Totes Program Is Lifeline to Homebound Seniors

  By Laurie Mason, Program & Communications Coordinator May 13 marked the 11th monthly delivery of Friendship Center’s signature comfort-food for the isolated soul Take Care Totes. Beginning just 10 days after mandatory shelter-in-place orders, Friendship Center’s Take Care Tote program represents a lifeline to homebound, isolated seniors.  “Ideally, Take Care Totes represent joy and love as they open the…

Board Member Cynder Sinclair Walks the Walk

By Laurie Mason Program & Communications Coordinator It all started with a small thing in the early 1970s when Cynder Sinclair was helping in her son’s classroom. “I noticed some of the kids were not dressed warmly enough for the weather,” she says. Cynder was living with her husband and five children in the small farming community of Kingsburg, where it…

Dine & Donate Hits Record Numbers in Support of Friendship Center  

By Sophia Davis Advancement & Project Manager April’s Dine & Donate Event was a fantastic success with over 110 dinners sold, making it our most successful Dine & Donate event ever! Heidi Holly, Executive Director commented, “We want to extend our sincere gratitude to SBAOR, and the CORE Committee for working their hearts out to support Friendship Center. The event…

Friendship Center Intern Claire Arnold Graduates & Reflects

  Community Connect Adult Program members are familiar with Claire Arnold’s graceful,  kind presence on their Zoom screens. Claire, Friendship Center’s intern from Westmont  College, graduated in May and recently completed her eight-month internship. She’s been an asset to Friendship Center and a credit to Westmont College, and we will all miss her. While she is pursuing new opportunities in…

Rosewood Miramar Beach Resorts Donates Lunches for Seniors

Big thanks to our neighbors at the Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort for contributing 42 lunches to Friendship Center’s monthly Take Care Totes, going out to isolated seniors! This is what community is all about!

Dine & Donate: Los Agaves & SBAOR to Donate Proceeds of April 21 Event to Friendship Center

In an event sponsored by the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors (SBAOR), Los Agaves Restaurant is cooking up an authentic Mexican meal for charity. Meal pick-up is Wednesday, April 21 from 4:30 p.m.—6:30 p.m.  All proceeds support  Friendship Center, an Adult-Day program located in Montecito and Goleta, providing programs that honor individuality, promote socialization, and foster a compassionate community for…

April Take Care Totes Packed with Games, Activities & a Bit of Luxury

by Laurie Mason, program coordinator Take Care Totes go out to members April 15 packed with practical items like chapstick, face masks, fruit cups and tissue packs, granola bars, chocolates and fresh fruit. This month a bit of luxury is included as well, donated by Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort in the form of a ready-made lunch. Games are an important part…

One Year in Quarantine: Caregivers Share Trials & Triumphs

  By Laurie Mason Programs & Communications Coordinator March 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of California’s shelter-in-place orders. While many, clearing the shelves of toilet paper, anticipated an inexplicable increase in bathroom visits, others assured themselves everything would go back to normal in six weeks. No one yet grasped that March 14, 2020 was to begin a full year of…

Friendship Center CCAP Activities Changes Start Time to 10 a.m. April 5

Beginning Monday, April 5, Friendship Center will start our virtual-programming day at 10 a.m. rather than 9 a.m. Hours will be from 10 a.m.—noon with a one-hour break for lunch, resuming at 1 p.m.—4 p.m.  We will continue providing a more interactive agenda, including games with a purpose like Find the Differences, Wheel of Impressions, Stories and Discussions and Word…

Make Friendship Center Your Amazon Charity to Donate While You Shop ∼ at No Extra Cost!

Click here to make Friendship Center your AmazonSmile charity. Friendship Center is now registered with Amazon as a charitable organization through the AmazonSmile Foundation. If you choose Friendship Center as your charity, Amazon will donate 0.5% of every purchase to Friendship Center. Click above to automatically choose Friendship Center as your AmazonSmile charity. If you are logged in to Amazon…

Member Spotlight on “Sir” Robert Antonini, WWII Vet & Witty Raconteur

  By Laurie Mason Programs & Communications Coordinator Everyone calls Robert Antonini “Sir Robert,” a moniker he gave himself. “It’s because I’m above and beyond the ordinary,” he jokes, but his self-deprecating manner suggests he doesn’t really believe that. Yet it’s true. At 94, Sir Robert is fit, sharp and always quick with a witty retort. Someone says, “You made…

Laughter Heals: Therapist Carol Metcalf Uses Humor to “Reframe the Ironic” 

  By Laurie Mason Programs & Communications Coordinator Friendship Center knows Carol Metcalf for the time she volunteers running a Veteran’s Support Group. What members might not know is that Carol, in addition to being a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and adjunct professor at Antioch University, is a SAG actor, comedian and documentary filmmaker. Her award-winning documentary “It Only…

‘Love Is in the Air’ for Friendship Center’s Festival of Hearts Virtual Fundraiser

“Head heart wrangler” Sharon Morrow collects, coordinates and catalogues the heart art for Friendship Center’s Festival of Hearts. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo) By Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose Link here for original article. Reposted with permission.   Friendship Center recently wound down its 22nd annual Festival of Hearts virtual event themed “Love Is in the Air” to raise funds for its…

Queen of Hearts to Attend Sweetheart’s Drive-In

Thursday Feb. 11, 1 – 2 p.m. Family therapist, veteran’s advocate, and comedian by day, Carol Metcalf who moonlights as the Queen of Hearts will grace us with her majesty in full royal regalia 1:30 p.m. at Friendship Center’s Sweetheart’s Drive-In, Thursday 1-2 p.m.  From the safety of their cars, members will enjoy treat bags, social interaction, a Valentine’s Day…

Valentine’s Gift Baskets Help Fund Virtual Programming 

  by Laurie Mason, program coordinator Valentine’s Day is Sunday, and if you don’t have a plan you’re in luck! Friendship Center will pack you a delicious Valentine’s Gift Basket complete with all the trimmings. Created with an eye toward decadence, Friendship Center’s Valentine’s Baskets include a bottle of wine, gourmet chocolate cupcake baked fresh, and a bouquet of mixed…

Therapy Dog Evaluator Gerrie Shapiro Donates Training Services to Festival of Hearts

  By Laurie Mason Programs & Communications Coordinator Gerrie Shapiro has trained dogs for a long time—long enough now that she has the luxury of being choosy about whom she works with. “I’m getting kind of picky about the clients I take,” she chuckles. “I’ve been bitten enough!” Gerrie is a familiar face at Friendship Center, where she often visits…

Bid Early, Often and Big! Festival of Hearts Auction Is Live!

This year Friendship Center’s biggest annual fundraiser, Festival of Hearts, has gone virtual, and it’s live now! You have until February 6 to bid on a beautiful original artist’s heart, Valentine’s Day basket—did somebody say wine and cupcakes?—or unique experience. In so doing, you help us continue supporting isolated older adults with financial need. Covid 19 negatively impacts all our…

Every Place Needs an Esther Kratz

  By Laurie Mason Programs & Communications Coordinator Every organization needs an Esther Kratz, Friendship Center Goleta’s program site manager. Here’s a story that shows why. A few years back, Friendship Center threw an Oktoberfest, bringing together members from both the Goleta and Santa Barbara sites. The event included a feast, dancing and best of all, the nostalgic tunes of…

Q & A with Program Manager Kathryn Cherkas, MIPH

  By Laurie Mason Programs & Communications Coordinator Social, Emotional, Cognitive and Physical: Friendship Center’s program is designed to exercise four facets of healthy human life … every day. Glance at a typical day on Friendship Center’s agenda and you might think, “That’s a pleasant way to spend time.” A closer look reveals a carefully crafted plan that exercises four…

Socializing—Even on Zoom—Is What’s Best for the Brain

  By Laurie Mason Programs & Communications Coordinator We all know doing crossword puzzles is a great way to exercise our brains. But neurosurgeon and author Sanjay Gupta, M.D. says crossword puzzles are nowhere near as healthy as talking to a friend. “Crossword puzzles are great, but they’re no substitute for everything else you should be doing for your brain,”…

Unity Shoppe & FC Bring Christmas Cheer to Homebound Seniors

By Kathryn Cherkas, MIPH (photo: gift unwrapping party on Zoom with Friendship Center families) “Character and resiliency appear when challenges emerge”- Anonymous This year has been marked by challenges and heartache. Through it all, however, organizations in our community have held steadfastly to their commitments of serving those in need. The Unity Shoppe, a group that has a long history…

Thanksgiving Lunch Donors- THANK YOU!

Friendship Center would like to extend a sincere thank you to the wonderful donors who helped us put together over 50 lunches for isolated seniors and their caregivers this Thanksgiving. Our neighbor, Chef Massimo, at the Rosewood Miramar provided DELICUOUS boxed lunches, Sprouts Market gave us enough gift cards to purchase tasty sides and meals for caregivers, Anna’s Bakery and…

Thanksgiving Lunch Delivery for CCAP Members

  **You do not need to confirm your lunch delivery; we will deliver lunches to all CCAP members unless otherwise stated!

Give a Gift that Gives Back This Year!

Never sure what to get for the person who has everything? Do you want to give a present that has meaning behind it? This year, Friendship Center is introducing a gift that truly gives back. You can choose from 5 personalized cards, to be mailed or emailed to a recipient. Each card includes a brief narrative about a Friendship Center…

Drive-In Halloween Bash @ Friendship Center 10/29

Join us for a Drive-In Halloween Bash on Thursday, October 29th at the Friendship Center’s Montecito location (not Mackenzie Park, as previously stated). The event will take place from 1:00pm-2:00pm in the Friendship Center parking lot at 89 Eucalyptus Lane, Santa Barbara 93108. Guests will remain in their car for the duration of the event but will enjoy the company…

Step by step on how to sign up for the Community Connect Adult Program

  Step 1: -go to friendshipcentersb.org -Click ‘Sign Up’ (circled in red) Step 2: -Press ‘Select’ under description of Individual Membership Level (for Individual membership access only) Step 3: -Review summary of services that come with your membership Step 4: -Create a username & password -Write in your email & contact information -add payment information Step 5: -Click ‘Submit and…

Community Connect Adult Program: Launching October 12th!

On Monday, October 12th, Friendship Center will be launching our first ever virtual membership program, the Community Connect Adult Program (CCAP).  About the Community Connect Adult Program (CCAP):   The Community Connect Adult Program is a virtual program that has been carefully crafted by the Friendship Center team since on-site programs were suspending in March 2020. Two seasons and seven-hundred…

Shine a Light of Hope: A Letter from Executive Director and BOD President

Dear Friend, 2020 will forever be known as the year of one of the most impactful and furthest reaching public health events in history. We have had to pull together, and stand apart. With no stone unturned, we have had to re-think many of our routine habits through a new pandemic lens. In doing so, we have become even more…

Caregiver’s Corner: Sleeping Well

By Naomi Edwards: Good sleep is something that is hard to come by, and with everything going on in the world, a full, restful night’s sleep is something that is few and far between for many. There are countless things that could be interfering with your sleep, but it is clear that without a good night’s sleep, we are unable…

Update to Our Virtual Activity Program

Dear Friendship Center community and beyond, In order to continue to support our seniors safely at home, Friendship Center needs to support our staff. In order to do so, and to best serve our community, we will be transitioning our virtual activity programs into a paid membership program. Starting on October 12, you will need to sign up for a…

Understanding Frontotemporal Degeneration

World Frontotemporal Degeneration Awareness Week September 27th-October 4th, 2020   Resources, text and information provided by: Association for Frontaltemporal Degeneration https://www.theaftd.org/ Alzheimer’s Association https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia/types-of-dementia/frontotemporal-dementia   Frontaltemporal Degeneration (FTD) represents a group of brain disorders caused by degeneration of the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain. FTD is the most common form of dementia for people under age 60.  …

Fall Fashion Photo Contest!

What: A photo contest to show off the best/ worst/ silliest contents from your fall wardrobe. How: Send the photos to activities@friendshipcentersb.org or text them to (805) 705-4106 When: Send in photos by October 22nd Who: ANYONE, ANYWHERE

Veteran’s Group: Now held virtually!

The struggles of military life are best understood by fellow veterans. Our Veteran’s Support Group provides a comfortable, empathetic, and supportive environment where veterans can express their thoughts and feelings about military experience, life after military and learning or reinforcing coping skills. This virtual class is held via Zoom on the third Thursday of each month from 3:00pm-4:00pm. To access…

The Drive-In Luau was a Hit!

On Thursday, August 27th , Friendship Center held its second ever Drive-In Activity Hour at the Montecito site. The event, which was Luau themed, saw over twenty cars holding roughly forty guests in attendance. Members of our community, most of them being caregivers, brought their senior loved ones to Friendship Center’s tropically decorated parking lot for live yet socially distanced activities while…

Staying Grounded and Grateful during a Pandemic

By Kathryn Cherkas, MIPH None of us are exempt from feeling the stress in our country today. From political tensions and racial injustices to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all impacted emotionally, physically or spiritually. Coping during this time is particularly difficult for those struggling with underlying mental health conditions, such as PTSD, depression or anxiety. The practice of ‘grounding’…

Save the Date: Drive-In Luau on Aug. 27th!

Join us on Thursday, August 27th from 3:00pm-4:00pm in the Friendship Center Montecito parking lot for a LUAU! Adhering to proper social distancing measures, we invite you to join us for an hour of activities with your loved one from your car. Cars will be spaced at least 6ft from on another and staff, who will be dispersed through the…

August Take Care Totes: Fiesta Edition!

On August 5th, Friendship Center once again teamed up with the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade to assemble and distribute nearly 130 Take Care Totes to isolated seniors in our community. What to expect in this month’s delivery: a plethora of snacks, beverages, personal care items, activity and art supplies, fiesta knick-knacks, face masks and our fabulous, personally curated activity sheet…

Drive-In Style Activities for Seniors

By Kathryn Cherkas For over 40 years, Friendship Center has been a post in our community for compassionate care for aging adults. Friendship Center’s two sites, one in Montecito and the other in Goleta, offer exciting day programs for adults and seniors to enjoy daily while offering caregivers respite. Since closing our physical doors on March 16th due to COVID-19 precautions, we have had to find alternative…

Where Can I Get a Drink around Here? Keeping Ahead of Dehydration

By Kathryn Cherkas, MPH   Did you know that our brain’s ability to be aware of and respond to thirst decreases as we age? This is an added challenge for caregivers because the one for whom you provide care might not be able to communicate that he or she is thirsty. While doing our best to make loved ones are…

The Importance of Activities for Seniors and Jokes

By Kathryn Cherkas, MPH WHY ARE ACTIVITIES SO IMPORTANT FOR SENIORS? Let’s THINK! Brain stimulating exercises aid in better cognition, reasoning, processing speed, attention span, verbal skills, and working memory. Some of the tools we share through our virtual community verbally & visually, and others are physical, with doorstep deliveries of activity worksheets to members: word puzzles, number puzzles, and…

Food For Friends & Take Care Totes: Friendship Center Shifts to Remote Services

By Justine Sutton for Friendship Center Our Montecito and Goleta sites are home away from home for many seniors with dementia in our local community, providing adult day services with engaging activities, nutritious meals, and compassionate care. With both Centers closed due to COVID-19, we knew we had to do all we can to support our elderly members by alternate…

Bringing Joy to the NOW!

By Kathryn Cherkas Program Manager, Friendship Center Montecito “We may not remember the past or be sure of the future, but we can cherish this bright and shining moment.” ~Anonymous A few years ago a Program team member told me her favorite part of working with our members was “bringing joy to the now.” That really stuck with me, and…

Festival of Hearts photos… enjoy!

Friendship Centers 21st Annual Festival of Hearts

Group of Seniors

The Importance of Caregiver Care

By Naomi Edwards, Program Specialist Friendship Center Montecito One of the most rewarding, yet challenging, jobs in the world is caregiver. Some choose this path, while for others it is chosen for them. When a sudden accident, terminal illness, or other life-altering event strikes, members of the affected person’s care network (family or friends) are called to action to provide…

New Hope for the New Year—Legislation on Alzheimer’s Disease

In 2010, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) rose to the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and the fourth leading cause in California alone. While this data, provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), brought on fears of the future, the last decade has seen a number of advancements in research and practice…

The Best Present is Your Presence–Navigating the Holiday Season as a Caregiver

By Kathryn Cherkas, MIPH Program Manager, Friendship Center Montecito The holiday season can be a joyous time of year where families get together and celebrate. However, as a caregiver, it can also be a stressful time, full of schedule changes, parties, and relatives coming and going. There are lots of resources out there on ‘self-care for the caregiver’ but we…

Camaraderie and the Commander: the Importance of Socialization for Aging Vets

By Kathryn Cherkas, MIPH Program Manager, Friendship Center Montecito One of humanity’s most commonly shared elements is personal relationships. Friends, relatives, romantic partners, and acquaintances all form a unique network that becomes our community. Veterans are all part of a unique community that few outsiders understand. The bonds between veterans are not just the result of similar career, training, or…

Old Folks Offer New Insights on Film–WISE UP on Aging Helps Hollywood Hear From Real Elders

Authors: Kathryn Cherkas, MIPH, is Program Manager at Friendship Center Montecito, where she coordinates the project; Stuart Greenbaum is director of the WISE UP On Aging initiative and a Governor’s appointed to the California Commission on Aging. Who better to judge whether art accurately imitates life than those with plenty of life experience? So, when Hollywood attempts to fictionalize aging-related…

Culture and Care

By Kathryn Cherkas, MIPH Program Manager, Friendship Center Montecito With humans all so different, eldercare is not a one-size-fits-all kind of business. What works for one person may not for someone else, and an approach that worked before may even be offensive to another. There are many considerations in caring for a dependent adult, but for this article I will…

Fiblets Are Your Friend

By Kathryn Cherkas, MIPH Program Manager, Friendship Center Montecito If you are caring for someone with memory loss, you have surely made changes in your household as you embrace this new reality. And as we all know change is the only constant in life, more are sure to come. When you find a new way of doing things that works…

Bridging the Generation Gap

Program Manager and proud aunt Kathryn enjoys sharing her nephew with Friendship Center members when he comes to visit! By Kathryn Cherkas Program Manager, Friendship Center Montecito When groups of young people visit Friendship Center, be they children or teenage students, I gather them for a little “pep talk” in the lobby before going in to meet our seniors. I tell…

For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow–A Father!

Dear Friends, When you hear “father,” do you think of taking in 20 foster children over 25 years, many of them teenagers? … adopting seven of them in addition to three biological children of their own? How about putting them all through college? Ben*, 85, a member at our Montecito Center, is this father. He and his wife, Genie*, now…

Decision Making & Dementia: Supporting Your Loved One To Make Independent Choices

By Kathryn Cherkas, MIPH Program Manager, Friendship Center Montecito In caring for someone with cognitive impairment, it’s hard not to go into “control” mode and do everything for them. It could be because we are not used to watching our spouse, parent, or other loved one make less-than-perfect decisions and we want them to have what we think is best.…