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Help with senior services brings out many looking for assistance and activities

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Seniors looking for organizations and activities in
Santa Barbara County have found a starting point at the Senior Resource Summer fair.

It was coordinated by the Central Coast chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.

27 organizations came out with their information at the Carrillo Recreation center in downtown Santa Barbara.

The services included wellness workshops, home choices, volunteerism, fitness and life planning needs.

"We really want to make sure seniors know what is available to them at mostly no cost" said Gabriella Garcia PsyD, the Program and Education Manager for the Central Coast Alzheimer's Association. She says the organization is also a direct connection to many community resources and referrals.

The room was full of information seniors or someone close to a senior would need.

De Rosenberry with the Family Service Agency said, "there's people that have been out of the loop for  two years plus so they need to know what the resources are  get back into society a little bit get some help." She said, for some who were not getting out, it was a place "to test their wings" in a group setting. "We've been just dealing with how do I survive?"

Garcia said the personalized event was not only good for getting out the information but also for other reasons. "Just to get out and meet people is so important for socializing and that aspect of life that so many folks have been missing."

Physical activity options were also presented including group and individual activities. "Even though you are slowing down that doesn't mean you are completely done," said Emmanuel Verduzco with the Ageless Fitness Corp. "Our program is making sure they can able to tie their shoes or stand up out of a chair and things like that so that's why  we decided to created a program and trying to let people know to get in and start exercising." 

Verduzco says many people see improvements over time.

Kim Larsen with the Friendship Center in Montecito said there are benefits for veterans at their site. "I have our veterans in our regular adult day  program as well as in our special connection programs and   veterans may attend the friendship center on the VA bill one to five days a week for free once they've been approved."

The center is offering a variety of activities including games, trivia, crossword puzzles, flower arrangements, music and many day program experiences.

One newer service helps those who are dealing with wellness issues while caring for a loved one, or after they have passed.

Gina Bell with the Journey to Wellness workshops is holding sessions to "bring people together to share their stories, give them vital information they need and of course have  access to all the resources in our community. There is help out there."

For more information go to: The Alzheimer's Association. From their referrals to all senior related services will be available.

The Alzheimer's Association office in Santa Barbara has reopened at 1528 Chapala Street. The contact number is 800 279-3900.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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