On October 12, Community Bridges celebrated a momentous occasion, marking the grand opening of Elderday Adult Day Health Care’s new state-of-the-art headquarters located at 501 Main Street in Watsonville. This landmark event not only serves as a testament to the unwavering commitment of Elderday and its parent organization, Community Bridges, but also signifies a significant expansion in response to the growing need for older adult services in Santa Cruz County and the Central Coast.
Since its establishment in 1981, Elderday has been a lifeline for countless older adults, offering a wide range of crucial services. These services include nursing care, physical and occupational therapies, access to mental health resources, therapeutic activities, nutritious meals, and regular social interaction. The core mission of Elderday has always revolved around the well-being of vulnerable older adults, aiming to help them live in their own homes and lead fulfilling lives.
“We are here today to not only open a building but to unlock new possibilities for our older adult community,” Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino said. “This facility represents hope, opportunity, and a brighter future for the older adults we serve and the entire Pajaro Valley community. Thank you for your presence, your support, and your dedication to our shared mission. Together, we will continue to make a profound impact on the lives of our older adults and strengthen the bonds of our entire Central Coast community.”
The journey to this remarkable new facility has been marked by dedication and vision. Community Bridges secured a substantial $2.5 million grant from the Central California Alliance for Health (The Alliance) in 2021 to acquire the impressive 12,591-square-foot property in downtown Watsonville. This marks a significant expansion for Elderday, which was previously located on Pioneer Street in Santa Cruz for nearly two decades, serving its current 150 participants.
Construction of this visionary facility began in April 2022 and, as of September 2023, it proudly stands as a testament to Elderday’s unwavering commitment to the older adult community. The sheer scale of this new location represents a substantial increase in space, boasting a whopping 3,600 additional square feet compared to Elderday’s previous facility. What’s more, its proximity to Community Bridges headquarters at 519 Main Street fosters transformative intergenerational activities between Elderday and other programs operating under Community Bridges, including La Manzana Community Resources, Community Bridge’s WIC program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
The importance of this expansion was further emphasized by key speakers at the event. Denise Likar, Deputy Director of California Department on Aging’s Division of Home and Community Living, and Michael Schrader, the CEO of the Central California Alliance for Health, both highlighted the need for programs like Elderday as the number of older adults in California continues to grow at a rapid pace.
As we look across California at the Department of Aging, we’re planning for 2030, when we will see a population shift when 1 in 4 adults will be over the age of 60. We have to get ready to go. No one can do this alone in order to be able to take care of those who need our help. — Denise Likar, Deputy Director of California Department on Aging’s Division of Home and Community Living.
This expansion is a timely response to the surging demand for high-quality day services for adults with complex medical conditions. Santa Cruz County has experienced an 80.9% growth in the 65-84 age group since 2010, faster than any other region in California. Over 11,000 of the county’s approximately 72,000 older adults are eligible for Medi-Cal. Furthermore, studies reveal that 1 in 5 older adults in Santa Cruz County live in isolation, which poses risks similar to smoking 15 cigarettes per day and a 45% increase in their risk of death.
Elderday plays a pivotal role in combating senior isolation as the sole Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS) program in Santa Cruz County and one of just two such programs on the Central Coast. Their compassionate programs provide older adults with companionship, enrichment, and nourishment, enabling them to continue living at home with their families for as long as possible.
As the need for these services continues to grow, the expansion of Elderday’s facilities will not only serve the Pajaro Valley and Santa Cruz County but also extend its reach to neighboring San Benito County and Monterey County, ensuring that even more older adults can access the care and companionship they deserve.
“Now, more than ever, we have a tremendous opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of our aging community members. Your support, whether through donations, volunteering your time, or exploring potential partnerships, can make an enormous difference,” Cancino said. “Together, we can ensure that Elderday and Community Bridges’ family of programs continues to be a beacon of hope and a vital lifeline for our older adults. Let’s work together to provide the care, companionship, and resources our older adults need and deserve. Your involvement can help us build a stronger, more compassionate community for all.”