Isla Vista’s Friendship Manor Provides Community Housing for Senior Citizens

Photo by Samuel Yang | The Bottom Line

Kaylan Cholewa

Friendship Manor, originally a student-housing dormitory, is now an affordable solution for senior citizens looking for independent living in the Isla Vista area.

Located on El Colegio Road, nestled between university apartments and bike paths to campus, you could pass it without even realizing that there are over two hundred senior residents currently living there.

Breaking away from the traditional model of adult senior living, Friendship Manor residents are independent, taking care of themselves for the most part. Besides being provided meals, residents retain autonomy over their well-being. Because of this, residents truly take it upon themselves to help each other out, fostering a sense of community among one another.

Throughout the year, Friendship Manor offers numerous activities for those living there to socialize and get involved — presenting an opportunity to feel young again. They hold holiday-themed dances, ice cream socials (the undefeated favorite among residents), and a senior prom during the spring. The manor even has a billiard room, a beauty salon, and a heated pool on the premise.

Chris Rendessy, the activities director for Friendship Manor, detailed in an interview with The Bottom Line the various events that are organized. “We have barbeques, socials, pizza parties, movies…there’s always something going on,” said Rendessy.

Most recently, Friendship Manor offered residents a chance to get their groove on, eat sweets, and maybe even meet their sweetheart at their annual Valentine’s Day dance. Held on Feb. 14 the dance consisted of a lively time dedicated to food, drinks, a live band, and lots of dancing.

From the moment I entered the event, the sense of community was evident, not only between the residents but also in relation to the greater Isla Vista community. There was a surprising number of UCSB students at the event — from sororities and fraternities, to the Community Affairs Board and more, many students came out to show support.

This particular event has become an annual classic after fifteen years, and it is increasingly a conglomerate of residents and visitors–all coming together to dance, celebrate life, and enjoy the night with Friendship Manor.

The room was filled with music, chatter, dancing, and laughter. When speaking with Jason Alexander, the president of the Residence Association, he told The Bottom Line about the sense of community. “There’s smiles, hugs, laughter, and dance. It’s really just a big family,” said Alexander.

Friendship Manor presents many opportunities for students to get involved. They are always happy to have students volunteer, whether through serving meals to residents, getting involved with the numerous events that are held, or even coming in to “adopt-a-grandparent.” So, the next time you are looking to be a more involved member of your community, it may be a good idea to stop by Friendship Manor, home to many friendly faces.

Anyone interested in getting involved at Friendship Manor may contact the Retirement Community at (805) 968 – 0771, or at the following website: