The “new” Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center Bella Vida will celebrate its fifth anniversary in April.
The center, which serves more than 15,000 SCV seniors annually offers a range of amenities and services all designed to help seniors with the challenges of aging “in place.”
The ‘New’ Senior Center
The SCV Senior Center (27180 Golden Valley Road 91350) was dedicated on April 24, 2019 and christened “Bella Vida,” which means “beautiful life,” said Chief Executive Officer Kevin MacDonald,
The 30,000-square-foot, two-story building sits on 2.5 acres and includes features such as a banquet hall that seats more than 250, a fitness and dance studio, an outdoor cabana with concert seating, six multipurpose rooms and a library. The center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The new SCV Center replaced the cramped quarters of the previous center located on Market Street in Newhall.
“The new building gives us an opportunity to do so many things we couldn’t do before,” said MacDonald. “The center also has great food and wonderful staff and volunteers.”
MacDonald said the center now offers more than 30 different programs, many more than could be offered in the old space.
“We’ve also started a monthly concert series, it is booked up within days,” he said. “The Health and Wellness lectures also fill up every week.”
To see a full schedule of classes and other programs visit myscvcoa.org/calendar.
The SCV Senior Center is now part of the national Meals on Wheels America organization which provides meals to home-bound seniors.as well as a daily congregate lunch offered at the center.
MacDonald said in the SCV the nutrition program prepares approximately 2,000 meals a day.
“Meals on Wheels delivers approximately 550 meals a day for our SCV seniors,” said MacDonald. “It has been quite a challenge, but our staff and volunteers have met the challenge. We have about 110 volunteer drivers and they are fantastic. The deliver the meals and meet with the seniors every day. It is wonderful.”
MacDonald said volunteers are always needed. “We always welcome new volunteers to come on board,” he said. To volunteer, visit myscvcoa.org/volunteers-3/opportunities.
MacDonald said the expanded center has allowed the new center to offer “wraparound services”
“In addition to the wonderful nutrition program we have more social workers, we call them care managers, reaching out to thousands of seniors in the SCV and that program continues to expand,” he said. “We also have more support groups and those are overflowing with people who need to talk to someone. Those programs are all free through our Supportive Services Department.”
Low and no cost programs include congregate and home delivered meals, care management, adult day program, support groups and counseling, life-long learning and education, exercise and wellness classes, trips & tours, housing information & home modification services, and transportation services.
Director of Support Services SuzAnn Nelsen said rising prices and lack of affordable housing can create a crisis situation for many seniors.
“People walk in here every day who are in crisis,” she said. “The need for these services keeps growing.” The Support Services Department works to link seniors with available resources.
“Cost of food is so high these days,” Nelsen said. “We have a little food pantry that will assist people in immediate need.”
The center also offers a Handyworker Program that helps seniors modify their home so they can remain safe.
Health and Wellness
A wide variety of classes and lectures are available to SCV seniors. Registration and sign up is required. Among the programs: Sit & Be Fit Chair Exercises, Yoga, Chair Pilates & Stretch, Tai Chi, Pickleball, Zumba Gold and lectures on mental health, arthritis, diabetes and more. Health clinics which can include blood pressure checks as well as flu and Covid vaccinations are also held.
The SCV Senior Center also offers a Fitness Center which offers a variety of equipment so seniors may maintain strength and cardiovascular fitness.
Four one-hour time slots are available, Monday-Friday.
A new user orientation is required before using the Fitness Center. For information contact the Front Desk at (661) 259-9444.
The social aspect of the SCV Center is also important for healthy aging. Among the many fun activities are Bingo, Billiards, Canasta, Line Dancing and more.
MacDonald said the Senior Center could not do what it does without the help of the County of Los Angeles and City of Santa Clarita.
“Their help has been fantastic,” he said. “The local community also is amazing. It is like a trifecta of county, city and community working together to help the senior community in the SCV. We are very fortunate to have that trifecta.”
The annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner will be held Saturday, April 27 in the outdoor courtyard at Bella Vida. It is “our main community fundraiser for the year,” MacDonald said. “We also just finished our annual appeal campaign, which was very successful.”
Visit Bella Vida
MacDonald wants to invite seniors who have been hesitant to visit the new SCV Senior Center to “give us a chance.”
“You will walk in the door and be greeted by a group of friends who want to meet you,” he said. “It is like a country club for seniors, not a traditional senior center, that is why we call it Bella Vida, which means ‘beautiful life’ which is what we intend to give everyone who walks through the doors. We try to serve the needs of seniors the best we can.”
For more information, visit myscvcoa.org.