Rona Barrett considers learning a life-changing lesson about the needs of the elderly more of a blessing than a curse. After caring for her elderly and ailing father she quickly learned that despite her knowledge and resources as a professional journalist she was ill-prepared for the demands and needs that come with aging. She was overwhelmed with the choices and decisions that faced her and her father.

So, in honor of father, Rona began her foundation, the Rona Barrett Foundation which works to bring recognition and awareness for critical programs, issues and policy at the national level and in communities where seniors are served.

The Golden Inn & Village

This October, Rona’s hard work will begin to pay off as her foundation, will purchase a plot of land in Santa Ynez, California, and will begin construction phase of The Golden Inn & Village, a new model of affordable senior housing and care in a neighborhood setting.

Through partnerships with the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara, a non-profit Surf Development company and Peikert Group Architects, the Rona Barrett Foundation’s vision of the Golden Inn & Village is nearing reality. This senior community will be designed with the goal of helping seniors age in place through a variety of housing options and services available to accommodate their changing needs.

[caption id="attachment_28766" align="alignright" width="280" caption="The future site of the Golden Inn & Village for seniors in need: (left to right) Rona Barrett Foundation board members Fred Rice, developer and contractor; Susan Weber, Board Vice President. and Executive Vice President, Pacific Western Bank, Central Coast Regional Manager; Rona Barrett, Founder; Steve Reden, owner Star Drugs, Pharmacist; Bob Jurgensen, Board Treasurer, philanthropist; (not pictured: Tony Morris, Marketing Advisor, former Communications Director of the Coca Cola Company and the Brown-Forman Company)."]Rona Barrett Foundation[/caption]

The community will provide affordable housing, assisted living, adult and child day care, as well as, memory care and hospice care. The grounds will include a community center and garden. There will also be accommodations for staff who will be available to residents 24-hours-per-day. Partners in memory care, assisted living and adult day care will help The Golden Inn & Village offer top-notch care in each of those specialties.

Rona has said this community will be especially helpful for those “orphaned seniors” who don’t have family to help care for them.

A Call To Ac tion: Rona’s Warrior Encourage Service and Companionship

The Foundation has also challenged the youth of the nation (or those who are not so youthful) to spend some time with a lonely senior in need of companionship. Regardless of the reason for choosing to do community service, Rona urges the youth to consider volunteering at a senior care community in order to give back to those who’ve already given so much to society.

The Rona Barrett Foundation is backed primarily through donations from selfless individuals and through fund raising events. Donations can be made directly via her website. You can also book Rona for a speaking engagement or to perform her one-woman show “Nothing but the Truth” with proceeds benefiting her foundation.

Through her foundation and the eventual opening of The Golden Inn & Village, Rona’s legacy, and that of her father’s, will undoubtedly be the reformation of senior care.