By Rona Barrett | Published on 03.09.2015 1:30 p.m.
“A very interesting thing happened today,” my girlfriend told me in a conversation a few years ago.
Her son Max had come home from school excitedly and exclaimed, “Ma, I had a fun time today. We went to see the old people. I talked to an old man. He asked me all kinds of questions. Who am I? What do I want to be when I grow up? And then he told me stories about himself. He was very funny and nice!”
My friend delightedly asked him, “What was the man’s name?” Max answered, “He only had one name: Harry.” Surprised, my friend asked, “Were you talking to Rona’s dad, Harry?” Max shrugged answering, “I don’t know.”
Sure enough, when I asked my dad, “What did you do at the senior center today, Daddy?” He enthused, “Oh, they had some kids in from the school next door, and there was a nice boy who came over to talk to me and we had a wonderful time together!”
I quizzed him, “Do you know who you were talking to? I think it was Lindy’s son, Max.” He shrugged answering, “Max, Shmax, I can’t even remember my own name.”
My dad was just being his irascible self, but I knew he was happy to have encountered someone he enjoyed being with. It didn’t matter if Max was 4 or 84. It was fun — for both of them.
What the good folks at the adult day center were doing when my dad was there is called today “intergenerational programming” or “intergenerational shared sites.” I love the concept of adult care programs that purposefully and meaningfully combine child-care program activities that give everyone involved the benefit of sharing their experiences, talents and skills — while having fun doing it!
Intergenerational care activities allow children and seniors the opportunity to appreciate what the other has to offer, especially when the child doesn’t have the advantage of grandparents nearby and the senior’s grandchildren live too far away to interact even occasionally.
Turns out, everything the developing young child needs with regard to their physical, social, emotional, psychological and intellectual growth is almost exactly what aging seniors need to improve and maintain their cognitive functions: memory, focus, thought speed and clarity.
This concept actually started in 1963 as a part of the “War on Poverty.” The first program was called the “Foster Grandparent Program.” Today, the 100-memberGenerations United — a national membership organization of agencies that focus on improving the lives of youth and elders through intergenerational strategies, programs and public policy — has a map on its website that shows more than 1,000 such programs across the country.
I’m looking forward to the Golden Inn & Village providing these much-needed programs. After all, our parents did this all the time. They didn’t have fancy names for it; they just knew how important it was to take care of each other — whether they were caring for 4-year-olds or 84- year-olds!
Until next time … keep thinking the good thoughts.
— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at[email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.
By Kelly Kapaun for the Rona Barrett Foundation | Published on 03.04.2015 9:00 a.m.
The foundation wishes to thank the many generous community partners and donors who contributed toward the construction of the first affordable senior housing and residential care “aging in place” facility in Santa Ynez Valley.
Additional funds are still needed for the GIV’s Assisted Living and Memory Care housing. Construction for the GIV is slated to begin this month with a completion date in the fall of 2016.
The GIV will now receive $23 million in tax credits needed to start building. The Rona Barrett Foundation, in partnership with the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara, was required to raise $800,000 by March 1. The tax credits mean that an estimated $23 will be returned as community dividends in the form of local jobs, local salaries and local expenditures for equipment, transportation and supplies.
“All I can say is, how humbled and grateful we are to have the entire community, and beyond, step up in this profound way,” said Rona Barrett, president of the RBF. “So many people really feel connected to this project because they, or someone they love, is confronting senior care issues, including the need for affordable housing.”
Since the campaign launched in January, major donations have been received from the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation, the Central Coast Wine Classic Foundation, the Santa Barbara Foundation and other local family foundations, and donations from individuals all throughout the community.
The Golden Inn & Village is a mixed use development in a neighborhood setting that will provide 60 independent living units for low-income seniors; 60 units of memory care/assisted living; Senior Community Center (with extended hours for family visits and caregiver respite); 27 affordable family units, some of which may be occupied by employees of the GIV; Supportive services, such as Hospice care, coordinated with multiple partners; Small shops (barber, beauty shop, and other services), staff offices, drought tolerant gardens, and walking paths.
The Golden Inn & Village was conceived specifically to address the needs of our senior loved ones, parents, friends, neighbors, veterans and especially orphaned seniors — those who have no one left to care for them. Construction on the project is slated to begin later this month. Click here for more information about or to donate to GIV.
— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing the Rona Barrett Foundation.
By Kelly Kapaun for the Rona Barrett Foundation | Published on 02.25.2015 4:23 p.m.
With the support of the community, the Rona Barrett Foundation’s Golden Inn & Village has raised $525,000 toward the construction of the first affordable senior housing and residential care “aging in place” facility in Santa Ynez Valley that is designed to serve the community’s most vulnerable residents.
“I’m thrilled with the response,” said Rona Barrett, president of the Rona Barrett Foundation, which is championing the project. “We have received donations large and small. The most heartwarming are checks from individuals, who may only be able to afford $50 or $100 but who understand what we are trying to achieve and want to help. We love the large donations, too!”
As a condition of receiving the $23 million in tax credits that will allow the construction to begin for the GIV, the Rona Barrett Foundation must raise the remaining $275,000 by this Sunday, March 1. The foundation thanks its community partners and individual donors for donations so far toward a critical $800,000 funding goal.
The tax credits also mean that for every $1 a supporter donates to the Campaign for the GIV, an estimated $23 will be returned as community dividends in the form of local jobs, local salaries and local expenditures for equipment, transportation and supplies.
Construction for the GIV is slated to begin in March with a completion date in the fall of 2016. The Golden Inn & Village is a mixed use development in a neighborhood setting that will provide approximately 150 affordable units for low-income seniors to reside in a comfortable, supportive environment that meets their needs as they age. Services will range from independent to assisted living and memory care to hospice all on one campus. The programs and services provided will be coordinated in collaboration with multiple community partners and engage the broader community at large, avoiding duplication and leveraging strengths, while multiplying benefits to all.
The Golden Inn & Village was conceived specifically to address the needs of our senior loved ones, parents, friends, neighbors and especially orphaned seniors — those who have no one left to care for them. It is for seniors who live within our area but, with resources dwindling, are forced to survive on little more than Social Security.
For more information about or to donate to GIV, click here.
— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing the Rona Barrett Foundation.