Three years ago, Linda Barentine, 73, of Gardena retired from her 27-year career at the Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, where she had helped airmen transition to civilian life. But after only a few weeks, she discovered she could re-deploy her experience and skills to help her new peers—seniors and retirees—transition to active lifestyles.

She spotted an ad seeking seniors to join Gardena’s Affiliated Committee On Aging. “I wanted to give back and decided to see what the committee was all about,” she said. “There is so much fellowship in Gardena’s senior programs. It’s good for the body and good for the soul.”

Her committee involvement led to her appointment to serve on Gardena’s Senior Commission. The commission steers the direction of Gardena’s Senior Citizens Bureau, a body under the city’s Human Services Division that provides services to the community to allow participants to enhance their quality of life and to maintain their independence.

The senior bureau offers Meals on Wheels, which delivers hot lunches for homebound residents. A Supportive Services program offers assistance with light housekeeping, transportation to local appointments, and guidance on paperwork and applications.

SBCCOG’s First Vice Chair and Gardena Council Member Rodney Tanaka gets his groove on with seniors and Gardena police officers at last year’s Candlelight Dinner Gala.

It also offers more than 100 events and activities each year, including Gardena-On-The-Go trips to various points of interest and monthly Candlelight Dinners for a modest donation at the city’s Nakaoka Community Center. The Walking Club meets weekly in the morning at Gardena’s Willows Wetland Preserve, located at Arthur Johnson Park.

At last year’s Senior Gala, participants dressed in their fi nest attire and were joined on the dance floor by members of the Gardena police force. “The police officers never stopped
dancing—even our chief,” said Stephany Santin, director of Gardena’s Recreation and Human Services Department.

Supportive programs are also available for older adults who are frail or experiencing memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease as well as for caregivers and family members at the Gardena Senior Day Care Center at Saint John Lutheran Church. The center will soon get a new home. Under Proposition 68, Gardena received $8.5 million to build the Gardena Community Aquatic and Senior Center at 1654 W. 160th Street. Anticipated to be completed in spring 2025, it will offer a pool, public art, an outdoor gym and picnic areas.

Gardena received $8.5 million to build the Gardena Community Aquatic and Senior Center at 1654 W. 160th Street. Rendering provided by the City of Gardena.

According to Santin, the project speaks to the city’s commitment to help the full spectrum of its population to thrive. “The culture here in Gardena has always been to care for their elders,” she said. “I think it’s something that everyone is really passionate about.” •

Gardena’s senior programs are open to Gardena residents and nonresidents. To learn more, visit Learn more about the Gardena’s Aquatic and Senior Center project at