Rona Barrett

Rona Barrett

Dr. Seuss asked this question. You’ve probably asked it too. Now I’m asking it. And here’s why.

Back in May 2017, I told you that Gray Matters would be going on hiatus. This is television-speak meaning a “pause,” “break,” or “interval.” My plan was to have my column go on hiatus until September — basically for three months. Ha! Even the most math-challenged of us can add up the months the hiatus actually became!

But, dear readers, even though Gray Matters was on hiatus, I was not – nor have I ever been, come to think of it. Especially if you’re using hiatus as “respite” or “rest.” I don’t have much experience with these two words, much to the chagrin of my husband, friends, and staff!

So what have I been doing? Our team and supporters have been working hard to make Harry’s House, our assisted living and memory care facility in the Santa Ynez Valley, an affordable reality. It’s been more than challenging. But our community needs more low-income housing for those suffering with an illness and/or various dementias. Providing a roof over a low-income senior’s head is not the only answer. The body, mind and soul also need care. If we don’t take care of them, there will be far more seniors with problems out on our streets than we care to contemplate.

We’ve accomplished a lot during this productive time, but we’ve got a long way to go, baby, to continue to build our seniors a new future. I’ll tell you more about it in subsequent columns.

That’s right, I’m back. I’ve missed you. I’ve missed hearing from you. And I’ve missed us, together, navigating this thing called Life.

So, I’ll again share with you insights, tools, tips, updates, and stories that will endeavor to help us all to take action to improve our lives as well as help us on our journey. Because to paraphrase the late, great Bette Davis, this getting older part ain’t for sissies!

I love using the resources of The Area Agency on Aging. They are dedicated to offering programs that “promote the health, dignity, and well being of older adults.” They have a terrific website at If you don’t already have it, the AAA is offering a comprehensive Senior Resource Directory. You can order it online if you are inclined to use your computer. If not, call 1+800-510-2020. They’ll send you as many copies you may need.

In 2017-18, the AAA conducted a survey to “learn about the needs of seniors and family caregivers in our community today and in the future.” Future columns will also focus on these needs and concerns identified in the survey.

And, through of all the serious issues, we’ll take the time to laugh together too – most probably at ourselves.

In the meantime, let me know your ideas about how we can use our time wisely to take action to create a better informed, healthier, and happier journey into the future – together – for all of us!

Until next time...keep thinking the good thoughts.

Senior activist and local resident Rona Barrett is the driving force behind the Golden Inn & Village (GIV), the area’s first affordable senior living facility. Still to come is “Harry’s House” at GIV for those who need assisted living or memory care. Reach her at


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