Bob 'The Music Man' Levy entertains seniors at the Adult Day Service Center run by WISE Healthy Aging. The center won a 'Distinguished Site' award from the Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging. (photo by Nick Taborek)

PICO BLVD — For the seniors who attend the Adult Day Service Center here, lunchtime means more than just a meal.

It’s a social hour in a bright setting with flowers on every table. And it comes with entertainment.

On Friday, the show was courtesy of Bob “The Music Man” Levy, who played his guitar and taught World War II era songs, frequently stopping to quiz his audience about the lyrics — his way of challenging the seniors to think.

“I have so many friends here. Everybody has a lot of fun,” said Helen Louise Jacobson, as she waited for lunch to be served.

Her table mate, Aurora Vasquez, joked: “All these hags are very nice. They’re sweet.”

It’s this kind of pleasant atmosphere, along with the Pico Boulevard facility’s ability to tailor its meals to specific dietary needs and provide individualized assistance to those in need, that this month won it a “Distinguished Site” award from the Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging.

The center, located at 1510 Pico Blvd., hosts up to 30 seniors for lunch six days per week. With 5 to 1 client-staff ratio, the center provides some of the most specialized senior service in Santa Monica.

“For many seniors, mealtimes are among the most difficult times of the day,” said Grace Cheng Braun, president and CEO of WISE & Healthy Aging, the non-profit that operates the facility, as well as lunch programs at four other Santa Monica sites. “We’ve worked hard to make sure the healthy lunches program is something participants look forward to — a chance to be with friends, celebrate a season or a holiday and learn something educational, be entertained or collect some information.”

Frankie Aggers, the program director at the Pico facility, said the lunch program doesn’t just benefit the seniors themselves — it also helps their caretakers.

“For [seniors] to come here, it helps the family members balance their life,” she said.

The menu on Friday included broccoli cheese soup to start, a choice of chipotle pork or fish vera cruz, mashed sweet potatoes, creamed spinach and Caesar salad.

Many of the regulars are in their 90s, but according to Aggers, they can be quite discerning, especially when it comes to meal time.

“They’re very astute,” she said. “If they don’t like something, they let us know.”

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