Rona Barrett reigned for years as the Queen of Hollywood gossip. Long before there was a TMZ, there was Rona Barrett. Her no-holds-barred interview style and her large show biz information network struck fear in many a celebrity. Barrett left Hollywood in the early 80s to save a marriage and start a ranch, eventually becoming a lavender farmer. And now? She's one of the country's leading senior care advocates.
The Golden Inn & Village, a dream of Rona's, is quickly becoming a reality in northern California. This assisted living facility is comprised of two developments: 60 units for lower income seniors and 27 units for lower income families. Big donors already include the David Geffen Foundation and David Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame. When asked why he donated, Crosby said, "My wife Jan and I pitched in to help Rona because she is a good person, it was a very good idea, and our whole community was willingly trying to aid her."
The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara (HACSB) and their associated nonprofit, Surf Development Company, along with Union Bank, the California Community Reinvestment Corporation and several other entities are now all on board providing major funding, tax credits, and a permanent mortgage. John Polanskey, the HACSB Director of Housing Development said, "HACSB's mission is to provide affordable rental housing opportunities to lower income persons in Santa Barbara County, including seniors, persons with disabilities, veterans and those experiencing homelessness. While Rona had the vision, HACSB and Surf have the financing, development and management experience and partners necessary to turn this vision into reality." Polanskey added, "I found Rona to be a dynamo, with a clear and focused vision for helping lower income seniors live out their golden years in dignity and safety. "
Rona was once quoted during her Hollywood heyday as saying, "I'm a real pussy cat - with an iron tail." It's nice to see her whipping her senior tail around as well. See the video interview below for more of the story. And, reach out to help Rona here:
Dayna Steele is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's with Friends, Facebook, and a Really Big Glass of Wine. Much like Rona, Dayna is on a mission to educate all ages that aging is not a senior issue. It's something we all need to start thinking about now. Dayna is also the Chief Caring Expert for Caring.com. For more, visit www.DaynaSteele.com.