Santa Barbara Village - New Organization Provides Services Helping Seniors “Age in Place”
The phrase, “It takes a village” has new meaning for local seniors thanks to an innovative and collaborative new project called Santa Barbara Village. Taking the concept of community members being invested in one another’s well-being to a new level, Santa Barbara Village is providing seniors the support they need to enjoy active, healthy lifestyles, while living in their own homes, or “aging in place,” for as long as possible through a rich array of services and programs.
The result of a true community collaborative effort, Santa Barbara Village provides seniors with everything from social events and group activities to services as diverse as home cleaning and repairs, transportation, wellness options, food delivery, massage therapy, computer and technical support, automotive repairs, and help with errands through a network of screened and approved local vendors and volunteers. Completely member driven, Santa Barbara Village is constantly evaluating and reassessing needs to better serve its membership through approved service providers, who must give members a discount on services, often translating into as much as a 50% savings. Santa Barbara Village works with quality local businesses and nonprofit organizations, while also giving community members a great opportunity to volunteer in meaningful ways. “Most seniors look at Santa Barbara Village as something they are not ready for just yet. They are able to live on their own and do not think they need what we offer our members,” said Dan Wozniak, membership and volunteer coordinator for Santa Barbara Village. “But more and more members are discovering the benefits of the social opportunities we provide. The possibility of discovering a new interest or finding a new group of friends is just as valuable as access to our list of vetted service providers and the special discounts they provide.”
In today’s world, the opportunity to age in your own home comes with new challenges. Families are often separated by great distances and cannot always provide help for one another. This combined with the often high price of assisted living is far and beyond what most can pay for day-to-day care. If these elements could be factored out of the equation, not only would potentially thousands of dollars be saved, but the quality of life of seniors requesting services in this county could greatly increase. “Most people only need simple services – help with grocery shopping, a plumber now and then, and rides to medical appointments. If you are able to access the services you need, while maintaining an active lifestyle in your own home, you are not just increasing your own quality of life, but keeping your home safe as a legacy for your family,” said Naomi Kovacs, executive director of Santa Barbara Village.
Approximately 3.7 million people will turn 65 this year. This is a trend that will continue for the next 20 years. So, every day, for the next two decades, an estimated 10,000 people will turn 65. Aware of these statistics and the national village movement, a collaboration began about three years ago between four lead organizations in Santa Barbara – United Way of Santa Barbara County, The Center for Successful Aging, AARP Santa Barbara, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. The initial organizing effort was supported financially by a $74,250 grant from the Archstone Foundation and by a $10,000 grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation to develop the Santa Barbara Village’s business plan. Seeing the impact the “silver tsunami” is already bringing to the county, Santa Barbara Foundation has been partnering with other funders on senior issues for over a year, in order to find solutions to the needs the senior population will face in the near and foreseeable future. For this reason, the Foundation has also recently provided the Santa Barbara Village with a $50,000 Strategy Grant.
Santa Barbara Village is committed to creating and maintaining a close knit community, building personal relationships between its members, volunteers, and staff in order to provide quality services and support. The Village is currently accepting new members who are 50-years or older and who live in the area between Carpinteria and Goleta. For more information on Santa Barbara Village or its membership, please visit www.SBVillage.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 805-729-8828.