Over 700 senior citizens will soon say farewell to Isla Vista, a result of Friendship Manor’s decision to relocate.
The retirement home, which has served seniors in Isla Vista for 32 years, is planning to move to a location where residents will have better access to shopping centers and more senior-friendly facilities. A date for the move has not been set.
Friendship Manor Marketing Director Patricia Fabing said the senior facility was originally built for student housing. With four buildings, apartments, a courtyard and stairwells, the facility accommodates 700 to 800 people.
However, because the building was not intended to serve as a senior center, it is difficult for some residents to make their way around the premises.
“More people, I think, would get out and feel more comfortable if [Friendship Manor] were more purpose-built,” Fabing said.
Resident Shirley Bagwell said she has lived at the facility for a year and has enjoyed her time there but would appreciate more practical facilities for senior citizens.
“I don’t think that the location is as critical as some think,” she said. “I would just like the facility to be more suited to our physical needs, not emotional; those needs are well met.”
The proximity of Friendship Manor to a large population of college students is not a factor in the relocation, Fabing said. UCSB and Santa Barbara City College students, she noted, are an important part of the senior community, helping with crafts, participating in Adopt-a-Grandparent days and organizing the annual senior prom.
Friendship Manor executives are searching for four to five acres of land in Goleta, Santa Barbara or Carpinteria to build the new facility, which will include resources such as elevators and ramps to help seniors move around the complex.
Bagwell said Friendship Manor currently offers biweekly chair Pilates, biweekly bingo games, buffet meals three times a day, transportation to the doctor’s office, daily movies at a personal theater, nightly entertainment, a garden, a thrift store and a daily bus service.
The building occupied by Friendship Manor may be reverted back to student housing if developers are willing to renovate the building.