Social Day Program Stories


“The Social Day Program gives me great peace of mind, allowing me to continue to work and providing respite from Rich’s Alzheimer’s. It’s a very special place with very special staff.”
— Linda Spouse, Institute on Aging Social Day Program Member


Posted October, 2017

IOA’s Social Day Program clients recently received a visit from Rohini and Luke, the owners of the local mixology school, The Cocktail Camp, who came and gave us a free ‘mocktail’ making class. Clients made two different non-alcoholic ‘mocktails’ with fresh ingredients like muddled strawberries, rose pedals and mint leaves.  As a group they named them the Thorney Rose and Strawberry Fields.



Posted August, 2017

IOA’s Social Day Program clients were part of a group show at Ruth’s Table Gallery down in the Mission. They celebrated the SF Summer of Love by making tie-dye wall hangings, splotch painted butterflies and a giant ‘hippy chandelier’. At the art opening there were live art projects, a three piece band and lots of dancing. All had a great time.



Posted April, 2017

IOA’s Social Day Program clients recently received a couple wonderful visits from The Presidio Hill School and Marin Country Day School. The Presidio Hill kindergarten class paired up with IOA’s Social Day Program participants to draw portraits of each other. The idea behind the class was to study how different and how similar our faces are.

Marin Country Day School volunteers with IOA each year. The volunteers hold a fundraiser every year to give IOA a gift and this year the gift was to build bird feeders together with our Social Day Program participants. The students also gave our participants a therapy doll for those who need a little more love each day.



Posted on November 17, 2016

Our Social Day Program was pleased to welcome Professor Craig Marshall and his life drawing class from the Academy of Art University. Students spent the good part of the day drawing participants, giving the portraits as a take home souvenir but beyond that they connected with our community and had the opportunity to really get to know our members. I am struck by a quote from Keith Haring who said, “Drawing is still basically the same as it has been since prehistoric times. It brings together man and the world. It lives through magic.” There is a magic that happens when you sit down to capture the image of another. You have to really see them and hope that you not only render an image with some likeness but that you capture their spirit as well. In a time when our culture overlooks older adults for whatever reason we are happy to create a space to help counter that and hopefully inspire a respectful generation that sees the beauty in aging.

Img 9060


Posted on November 2, 2016

Our first outing to the Contemporary Jewish Museum was for the Mindfulness in Meditation program to experience the Negev Wheel by Ned Kahn. We so enjoyed the hands on experience in addition to the meditation class led by Steven Tierney from California Institute for Integral Studies. How wonderful to sit peacefully with our fellow community members in a moment of reflection.



Posted on August 30, 2016

This year IOA’s social day program participants will be treated to special programs at the Contemporary Jewish Museum thanks to a generous grant from the Senior Excursion Fund of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. The Contemporary Jewish Museum offers special tours and hands-on art programs for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments that are ideal for many of our participants. We look forward to adding these escorted outings to enrich the lives of our social day program attendees.


Posted on April  15, 2016

Gwen McLaughin started at Institute on Aging her Sophomore year and has come back weekly ever since. She has personal experienced caring for a family member  living with Alzheimer’s and used that as inspiration to serve others. A talented artist, Gwen designed her Senior Culminating Project to illustrate the life stories of our participants.

Gwen Volunteer


Posted on April  8, 2016

The Swindells day center has been blessed to have Jean Hansel as a volunteer. Jean has been donating her Wednesdays to the center for several years now. She enthusiastically engages participants in arts and crafts, horticultural therapy, and story-telling.  She is a true friend and helping hand. We truly thank Jean for her kindness, dedication, and amazing handmade scarves she presents us over the holidays. Jean is a part of a remarkable group of volunteers that bring us creative writing, yoga, and live performances.

Jean Volunteer


Posted on April  1, 2016

In April, we take time to thank the volunteers that help make Institute on Aging’s Social Day Center a very special place. We believe each day is an opportunity to connect with others and share all of the joys this wonderful world has to offer.  From the SPCA to student visitors, it is truly our connections to others that bind us to life. 

April Is Volunteer Appreciation


Posted on February  10, 2016

Family caregivers are invited to explore how the creative arts can provide meaning, joy, and connection to people living with dementia. This interactive and participatory symposium will highlight how art, drama, music, and mindfulness can dramatically improve quality of life and caregiving relationships. Learn about local community arts programs offered for people living with dementia. Leave inspired and equipped with create arts tools and techniques to implement at home. Presenting are representatives from Alzheimer’s Association, Institute on Aging, and Sutter Health CPMC/Ray Dolby Brain Health Center.

The event will be held March 16th from 10am-3pm at Institute on Aging, 3575 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118 for more information contact Rachel Main, There is a $20 registration fee and seating is limited so register today! Register online at

Img 6351


Posted on January 21, 2016

We are so grateful for our center volunteers who give their time to make the lives of others a little brighter. We are always looking for people who would like to share their talents with us. Perhaps you are great at chit chatting, maybe you play the guitar, or you like to draw. Whatever your talent is, we encourage you to share it with the most  appreciative audience imaginable.

Find out more by clicking here.

Singing Lawyers 1


Posted on January 5, 2016

Meet Duncan, a high school senior that first came to me three years ago with a mission: to make elders happy by creating art together. Duncan goes off to college next year and we wish him well.  We know that the empathy and communication skills he has learned while creating art will serve him and all of those he will impact. This art project just developed very organically while he and Carolyn chatted but I love that it resembles the two of them. We all have a light in us that is present from when we are babies and is with us as we age. I believe that art is a great way to connect with that light in all of us and a great way to connect with that light in others.

Photo 6


Posted on January 4, 2016

Inez and Frank go to our two different Social Day Programs but ride the same bus.  The bus becomes an extended activity for participants as they look out the window and chat with their neighbors. It can also be time to catch up with old friends which is the case for Frank and Inez. Frank is a retired hair dresser and styled Inez for decades. They hadn’t seen each other for years until they met again on the IOA social day van. Amazing!!

Img 8382


Posted on November 1, 2015

We at IOA are pleased to announce the first installment of our ‘Good Samaritan Project’. We’ve chosen different charities to team up with quarterly. Our first alliance is with our good friends at the SF SPCA who have been bringing therapy dogs to our center for years. To give our thanks we are launched a Towel Drive. The SPCA is in constant need of towels to rescue, clean and comfort animals. Day Center Families and IOA staff donated slightly used, clean and un-torn towels to help our participants facilitate this purposeful and fulfilling activity. It’s so important for us all to find ways to contribute. The ‘Good Samaritan Project’ encourages our participants to stay connected and give back to our community.

Img 8267


Posted on August 4, 2015

Just riding in the van to the De Young Museum was exciting.  We passed the Conservatory of Flowers and the Academy of Science; we saw kids on field trips and couples picnicing.  Sometimes it truly is the journey and not the destination.  But what a destination!! When gathering permission slips from families we heard often, “Oh, mom hasn’t been to the museum in years.  She will be so thrilled.”  We encouraged family members to attend as well as our summer interns from local high schools.  Both day centers went on two different days and were hosted by the FAMSF’s Artful Discoveries Program and for this trip, again it is the journey not the destination.  It wasn’t so much about gaining a finer appreciation for historical pieces of art but it was the fact of coming into this community space and experiencing a docent led tour was enough to thrill our participants and give them a well-deserved sense of dignity.

Entry 2


Posted on July 30, 2015

Institute on Aging’s Social Day Program welcomes the Fine Arts Museum (FAMSF) Ambassadors Program in an interactive arts education opportunity. 

San Francisco Unified School District students from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s Ambassadors program came to Institute on Aging’s Social Day Program to lead an art making class.  The Social Day Program compassionately serves adults living with physical challenges or in any stage of memory loss.  With our student partners, we discussed J.M.W. Turner’s watercolor techniques and how to visually create emotion in a painting.  Elder artists created original landscape paintings under the guidance of their teen partners.  A sense of pride and accomplishment was felt by all while we admired each others pieces.

Social Day Program Director, Jessica McCracken utilizes the benefits of both creativity and intergenerational programming.  “It’s all about engagement.  People living with Alzheimer’s and other challenges need stimulation and to feel connected to others.  One of the best tools to do that is art in all its forms.  Having young students participate magnifies those benefits.  Our community’s youth need opportunities to learn empathy and they bring such joy to our center.”

Picmonkey Collage

Social Day Program

Explore Articles on Social Day Program



Simply call Institute on Aging Connect at 415.750.4111 or 650.424.1411. Our dedicated Client Service Specialists are ready to help.