Monday, March 20, 2023     Volume: 24, Issue: 3

Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on March 6th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 1 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 1

Spotlight on: Santa Maria Wisdom Center

Linda Gadbois, program director


The only adult day health care facility in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties nearly doubled its capacity in January with a move across town into a brand- new building. 

Santa Maria Wisdom Center Program Director Linda Gadbois said the center built the facility on Depot Street to be able to serve more individuals. Previously able to serve 60 “frail individuals” from its location on North Broadway, the center is now being licensed to serve 100 a day. An affiliate of the Lifesteps Foundation, the center’s goal is to reduce the prevalence of premature institutionalization of aging adults with disabilities.

The Santa Maria Wisdom Center moved across town and into a new building in January. On Feb. 28, the center held a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting to showcase its new, larger, adult day health care center at 2255 S. Depot St.

“We care for those individuals who can’t go to regular adult day centers. Anyone who comes in here has to have a diagnosis of some type of dementia—Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia—and they have to have at least one kind of health issue, although many of our participants have more than one,” Gadbois said. “They can come here, have their health needs monitored by a nurse, have a socialization program, and have all their therapies as well.”

In addition to having registered nurses on site, the center has the ability to provide occupational, physical, and speech therapy for individuals; picks people up and drops them off at home; provides meals; and schedules a full activity program. It’s unique, Gadbois said, and it shouldn’t be.

In 2014, she presented a white paper to the Santa Maria City Council explaining the need out there: 10,000 people in the U.S. turned 65 every day in 2014, she said, and it’s probably higher now. According to AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), people older than 65 years will outnumber children in the U.S. by 2030.

“Quite frankly, there are not enough services on the Central Coast to meet their needs,” Gadbois said. “One facility to care for everybody in two counties is mindboggling.” 

People travel from as far north as Morro Bay and as far south as Lompoc and the Santa Ynez Valley to participate in the day center’s full socialization program, she said. 

With the help of a Community Development Block Grant that the Santa Maria City Council awarded to the center and funds raised via the Step Up for Seniors capital campaign, Gadbois said they were able to build the new 9,500 square-foot building. Finding a larger space to occupy was on Gadbois’ to-do list from the moment she took the job, six years ago. 

“I came and toured [the Broadway] facility initially and basically took the job with the caveat that I would help them find a new home because they badly needed one,” she said. 

Since the new spot opened, Gadbois said that several people have applied to become participants. Most will end up paying with CenCal Health or Veteran’s Affairs insurance, although some do pay privately, she said. But there are still slots available to those looking for adult health care services during the day. 

You can speak with a social worker and grab a packet of paperwork when the center is open. It’s a little bit of a process, she said, as they need to verify that the individual has some form of dementia and has one or more medical issues that would benefit from the Wisdom Center’s program. Then, the family or individual has to decide how those services will be paid for. 

Last is the three-day assesement “to make sure the individual is happy here and make sure the individual is a good fit for the program, this is a good fit for them,” Gadbois said. “The vast majority of the individuals who come here and get a chance to come, want to stay and enjoy it, but everyone has personal preferences and needs.”

For more information, contact the Santa Maria Wisdom Center at (805) 354-5336 during business hours, between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit


CenCal Health recently announced a collaborative new program aimed at providing safe recuperative care to local homeless individuals who are not sick enough to be hospitalized but are too frail to recover from their illness or injury on the streets. The Recuperative Care Program will provide up to 90 days of services for Medi-Cal members who need comprehensive medical services, acccording to a press release. Partners include Dignity Health, Tenet Helathcare, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo, and Good Samaritan Shelter in Santa Maria. For more information, visit 

Editor Camillia Lanham wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Send your hot takes and news tips to 

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