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Rianda House: New ways to keep older adults connected

Rianda House: New ways to keep older adults connected

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Rianda House

The Rianda House senior activity center in downtown St. Helena.

Rianda House forges ahead with plans to keep UpValley older adults connected. The Rianda House team, like all of you, are realizing that summer and fall are not going to look like we planned.

We’re leaning into this new opportunity to do what we do differently this year. We are being proactive in implementing new ways of connecting with you and providing new services. As we modify our summer plans, our Kathy Carrick, Rianda House instructor, is leading the way by accepting the challenge of teaching in a remote-learning environment. She shared her experiences of traveling to France with the Rianda House community through an armchair travelogue of her travels to France. We’d like to thank all of our instructors for their persistence and dedication and ingenuity in providing new and engaging classes via Zoom.

Let’s pause for a moment and talk about using Zoom to make new connections. As our dear friend, Betty Rhodes, shared with us last week in her Senior Corner article, it isn’t always easy to try something new and unfamiliar. However, she shared that the payoff of learning how to use a new tool and being able to participate in a class is worth it! With each new style of communication, it takes some getting used to as we learn new skills and modify the ways we communicate with one another. We encourage you to explore the possibilities open to you by trying new technology tools.

New to Zoom? We’ve got you covered! Contact us to set up a one-on-one phone appointment with one of our volunteers. We’d love to see more of you, and connect you with our Rianda House friends in our weekly online classes in the coming weeks.

New classes are added weekly to our activities calendar and newsletter, The Winkle. Choose a class to join this month after browsing options online at or by picking up the latest edition of The Wrinkle from one of the boxes outside of Rianda House at 1475 Main St.

If you prefer to receive The Wrinkle in your mailbox or inbox, give us a call. This month’s calendar features a unique lineup of classes including: a music appreciation class, a collage and story writing class, an invitation to join a virtual brown bag lunch group, and a memoir writing group — to name just a few. There’s also a great selection of exercise classes to get you moving and to build up strength and stamina including our Tai Chi, Balance and Stretch, and PWR! Moves classes.

Sign up for a class by emailing Elizabeth Cobb-Bruno, program manager, at or by calling (707) 963-8555, ext. 103. We’re also exploring options for sharing classes in new formats, including phone-in options that don’t require a video connection. Reach out to Elizabeth to inquire about possibilities and to share any classes you’d like to see added to our calendar.

While we share new community connections and educational opportunities, Rianda House is also making plans for safely reopening — as soon as it’s possible for us to do so. All of our plans are informed by federal, state and county guidelines.

Reopening the center will be a multi-step process that will likely take months and may begin with outdoor programming, such as walking club, opportunities to dine al fresco, Tai Chi in the park and perhaps plein air painting classes. As we plan, we still have no specific reopening date in mind. We’re doing all we can to be ready to reopen when the state and county guidelines give us the green light.

As always, everything we offer at Rianda House is at no cost, thanks to the generosity of our supporters. We couldn’t do what we do without you! We are so grateful for the generous philanthropic leadership through grants from the Napa Valley Vintners, the cities of St. Helena and Calistoga, and the Rally4Rinada House Match Challenge Team. Their leadership inspired an amazing community response that exceeded the Rally4Rianda fundraising goal. Thank you! And, the support for the Rianda House community isn’t limited to annual financial support. An active group of quilters, “Maisy the Mask Makers,” led by Beth Lincoln, have sewn 878 face coverings, making it possible for us to offer free face coverings to our participants. Each gift of support conveys a clear and important message for the wellbeing of older adults in our community.

We are as anxious as each of you to see you in person – as soon as we safely can. We’re in this with you. Pick up the phone and call us, we’d love to hear from you!

WATCH NOW: Staying safe in the heat

Editor’s Note: Julie Spencer is executive director of the Rianda House Senior Activity Center and Leticia Rosado Russell, a new team member, is the Development and Community Engagement manager. Rianda House is located at 1475 Main St. in St. Helena and is currently closed. Contact us at 707-963-8555 ext. 101,, or visit the website to view the activity newsletter, The Wrinkle, at

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As Rianda House works remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, our core mission to keep UpValley seniors connected, informed of vital resources, and actively engaged remains the same ... we are just doing it a little differently these days.

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