Villa Alamar opened in 1996 and quickly became the gold standard for memory care in Santa Barbara, California.

Our architectural features are uniquely suited for the care of residents living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Residents can safely make use of indoor and outdoor areas to maintain an engaging lifestyle.  Our sensory-stimulating environment,  open pathways, and beautiful courtyards promote a supportive memory care community.

In 2018, Villa Alamar was acquired by a group of local residents who are now responsible for its management.  At the core of our care philosophy is our belief in working in close collaboration with family members and medical teams to achieve the best ongoing quality of care for each of our residents.


Our Management Team

Mitch Leichter

Mitch started his healthcare career as a Recreation Therapist  in 1996, specialized in aromatherapy and holistic treatments. He obtained his Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) Administrator’s license in 2000. Today, in addition to Villa Alamar, Mitch is the Administrator/Partner at Alexander Gardens Assisted Living in Santa Barbara.

Mitch has received the California Assisted Living Association (CALA) Award for his Sensory Integration Program for dementia patients, program which he brings to Villa Alamar to the delight of our residents.

In his spare time Mitch enjoys beach time with friends and family. He is always looking to add an awesome new design to his extensive Hawaiian shirt collection.


Luciana Mitzkun Weston
Community Services Director

Luciana is a licensed RCFE Administrator specialized in Memory Care, with nearly 30 years of experience in assisting families and patients affected with dementia, such as in Alzheimer’s disease. Formerly a Care Consultant for the Alzheimer’s Association, Luciana brings extensive knowledge in care planning and working in collaboration with diverse supportive organizations and community leaders. She is also a Certified Mediator and Support Group Facilitator, providing additional direct support to our families.

Luciana is the author of two popular books on memory care, Ahead of Dementia and Ahead of Memory Loss, resources that bring valuable information and strategies to patients and caregivers affected with memory-related conditions. Her work is also available in Spanish, Un Paso Adelante de la Demencia, and on line at her YouTube Channel dedicated to memory care.

When she is not writing or assisting patients and their families, Luciana likes to travel, swim, snorkel, and dance to country music with her husband, The Roy.


Yesenia Leon, LVN
Resident Services Director

Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Yesenia started working with seniors at the age of 16, when she took a caregiving position at Friendship Manor in Goleta. She proceeded furthering her education by completing her Medical Assistant certification at our own Santa Barbara City College.  She began her MA career working with Visiting Nurses and Hospice Care.

She joined Villa Alamar in 2017 first as a caregiver, then a medication technician. In 2020 she assumed the position of Resident Services Director, while attending nursing school. In 2022 she completed her LVN program.

“I love when I catch a glimpse of our residents”, says Yesenia, “especially during those special  moments when they really look at you and say Thank you! – you know it is really sincere and it makes my heart melt… they remind me every day of how much I love my job!”

The high quality of her work indeed reflects her passion and dedication!


Ingrid Estrella
Operation Services Director

Ingrid is a licensed RCFE administrator who has been with Villa Alamar since 2017. She describes herself as a people’s person who wants to help people.

It was her desire to help people that propelled her to study Addictive Disorders Counseling at the Santa Barbara City College, where she received her A.A. in Liberal Studies. But it was at Villa Alamar that she discovered her passion for working with seniors and appreciation for all the wisdom that those living with dementia have to offer.

A proud Santa Barbara native, first generation Mexican-American, Ingrid is also the owner of Game-Seeker, a popular table-games store on 537 State St.

Her family has also had some wonderful addition: Ingrid and her newlywed husband Steven have recently adopted Zoe, a lab-dachshund mix who brings lots of canine love to our residents.

In her spare time Ingrid enjoys riding her Vespa, relaxing at the beach, and spending time with family and friends.


Michelle Lopez
Life Enrichment Coordinator

After a 20-year career as a preschool teacher working with underserved children, Michelle has redirected her attention to senior care. She brings to this field all the techniques she has perfected in stimulating creativity and curiosity in the younger minds, adapting them to uplift and delight our residents who have diverse levels of cognitive skills. Michelle is a master in devising individual activities to address the individual needs of each one of our residents, while promoting a health and joyous community experience.

Michelle raised her two children in Santa Barbara (one of them our very own Ingrid Estrella!) and has served as a foster parent for teenage kids for the past 9 years. She also has two dogs and brings one of them to Villa Alamar occasionally for a most appreciated pet-therapy!

On her time off, Michelle enjoys swimming and walking her dogs on the beach.



Ally Lara
Office Coordinator

Alejandra Lara—friends call her Ally—went to UCSB where she pursued a degree in Global Studies and a minor in writing. During her time in college, Ally has had the opportunity of interning for multiple organizations as a writer, content creator, social media manager, and events coordinator.

Upon graduation (go class of 2022!) Ally realized that she loved living near the beach too much to go back home to Bakersfield. So, she decided to stay in Santa Barbara longer and joined the Villa Alamar team as our office coordinator. She hopes to be able to combine her passion for helping others with her creative side here at Villa Alamar.

Fun fact, even though Ally loves the beach and wants to learn to surf, she can’t swim — yet.