The Oak Cottage of Santa Barbara Memory Care Community celebrated its Grand Opening on March 28th, 2015. Building upon its owners’ great love of music, the new community opened its doors on a warm Saturday afternoon with three live musical acts (including a bagpiper, sitar trio and classical harpist), complemented by a Spanish small bites menu created in its own kitchen, and a signature deep dark Callebaut chocolate cookie recipe affectionately called the “Cloud Nine”. Neighbors, friends, and local senior care professionals all had a chance to tour the site, meet Oak Cottage’s Owners and Staff, and find out more about the residential program offered on site. The event signaled the formal opening of the facility which has been in planning and development for over four years.
Oak Cottage is the newest senior care community in Santa Barbara, focusing specifically on care and empowerment for residents with age-related cognitive decline. Nestled within the residential 1800 block of De La Vina, the project has been designed in an Art and Crafts vernacular, with deep porches, high ceilings and gracious windows allowing maximum access to natural light and beautiful views of the area. Forty apartments are split into three intimate neighborhoods, each graced with a large grand living area offering immediate access to activities programming, one on one personalized medical oversight, and farm to table dining. Residents suffering from Alzheimer’s or other age-related dementia are given every opportunity to maintain their existing abilities, and to receive assistance with physical ambulation, memory prompts, and whole body wellness. Oak Cottage’s staff has been trained in the latest care protocols focusing on Dementia Capable Care, the intent of which is to remove frustrating physical and intellectual barriers, and focus instead on those activities a resident can still participate in successfully, and with enjoyment. Following an ingrained love of music, Oak Cottage has also become certified as part of the nationally acclaimed Music and Memory program, which uses personalized playlists for each resident to use on I-shuffles, or as part of a larger activity within their neighborhood. Oak Cottage has partnered with local vendors wherever possible in creating their dining program, focusing on local farmer’s produce, meats and seafood. Meals are event worthy, welcome the whole family, and include multiple choices to encourage appetite, hydration and overall well-being.
The project is the brain-child of Mark and Valerie Maldonado, who envisioned a family owned and operated project, embedded within the fabric of the Santa Barbara community. They partnered with McGeever Management, (who own and operate the existing assisted living community Heritage House, also located in Santa Barbara), to bring an elevated approach to care at Oak Cottage. The Maldonados’ were also fortunate to build a management team that includes Joe Franken as Executive Director. Joe brings with him decades of local senior care experience through his work with Casa Dorinda, Samarkand, Friendship Manor, and most recently Acacia Hospice Care. All members of the team are focused on thinking outside of the box and addressing the whole person, that person’s history, and their family. Working through and around the challenges of dementia related illness, Oak Cottage seeks to make every moment count for their residents.