Friendship Center provides compassionate, professional, and affordable day services in a beautiful and secure environment for aging and dependent adults living in southern Santa Barbara County. It is the only full-service, supervised, non-profit day services program in the area. In addition to meals and transportation, a lively schedule of activities is provided. A registered nurse on staff oversees administration of medication and creates participants' care plans.
Friendship Center offers several types of services in order to cater to a more diverse spectrum of participants, including those in earlier stages of memory loss. The GOLD (Growing Old) Project is an intergenerational program where elders visit local classrooms to interact with young children and share life experiences. The Adventuresome Aging Program allows small groups of seniors to enjoy excursions to community attractions, along with lunch. In 2009, Friendship Center was chosen by the Brookdale Foundation as one of 15 organizations nationwide to establish the Connections Early Memory Loss Program, and staff attended specialized training. This weekly "brain fitness" class integrates games, puzzles, and memory enhancement exercises with a support group component. The support and camaraderie experienced allow participants to feel more positive, self-reliant and included in their community. Studies have shown socialization to be the key to reducing the depression that so often accompanies memory loss.
Equally important to the day services provided is the vital respite their caregivers receive so they can continue to care for their aging and dependent loved ones at home for as long as possible.