Tag: Seniors

Time with my mom: Reflections on senior care (pt. 2)

Time with my mom: Reflections on senior care (pt. 2)

If you haven’t read part I of this series, please read that here.

My mom and I pulled up to the hotel valet entrance and the experience of just getting from the car to the hotel room we’d share for the next couple days was as challenging a process as I’d experienced getting her ready to leave her care facility.  There is just so much stuff.  To be clear, nothing I write is a complaint. Even the things that sound like complaints aren’t really.  This woman rushed me to the hospital when I fell out of a tree and needed 20 stitches as a 3 year old.  She moved me to a school with more diversity and educational opportunity when I was 7 even though she really didn’t understand the full magnitude of either of those things. She was there at every turn to teach me, to scold me, and most importantly to me as a kid who watched foster brothers and sisters come and go sometimes weekly, she was there to love me.  So when I share the events of this weekend, even the hard ones, they really aren’t complaints in the normal sense. Read More

Time with my mom: Reflections on senior care (pt. 1 of 3)

Time with my mom: Reflections on senior care (pt. 1 of 3)

This is part I of a three-part series about senior support and caring for a parent

I pulled up to the adult care home where my 85-year old mom lives to take her out for the weekend and spend some time together. We don’t live in the same state for a variety of reasons that center mostly around California’s abhorrent lack of support for low-income seniors and the people who care for them. But I decided to put these political conversations away for a weekend as I walked into her building, turned the corner down the hall to her room, and opened her door…and what I saw was a punch in the gut that started a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows.   Read More

Episode 6: Elevating senior services – a crisis whose time has come

Episode 6: Elevating senior services – a crisis whose time has come


 
Click to view in iTunes
 
My foster/adoptive parents were much older than most parents because they started foster care after their own children were grown.   When my mother broke her hip a few years ago, I witnessed firsthand how fragmented and difficult our system of care for senior citizens in the San Diego region can be.  As a poor senior on a fixed income, my mother found it difficult to identify and access supportive services, and had to rely on her children’s help.  But what about seniors without family close by?

In this episode, I discuss ways that our region can and should increase focus on senior care and housing affordability issues.  I touch on elements of the domains of livability that senior advocacy organizations have identified as critical to providing for a dignified life in one’s later years, and point to solutions that can better advance the care and inclusion of our senior population.  The County of San Diego runs an Office of Aging and Independence Services that administers programs and services primarily funded from federal and state sources, but I think it can and should do more.

The critical takeaway is that our population is aging and, with limited incomes and crushing housing costs, we run the risk of creating a wave of severely challenged older adults that have significant and prolonged impacts on our region’s economic and social well-being.

The unspoken homeless crisis: Supporting our seniors

The unspoken homeless crisis: Supporting our seniors

San Diego County has seen a spike in homelessness among our senior citizens and we have not done enough to raise the priority and visibility of this critical need.  By some research accounts, senior citizens make up the fastest growing proportion of San Diego’s homeless individuals in recent years.  This Voice of San Diego article helps highlight some of the challenges. The data for our region makes clear that the County must act.

In this article by long-time senior activist Bill Kelly, he sounds an important alarm that we as County residents have not been heeding with nearly enough urgency. A few key statistics help highlight the challenges:

  • Approximately 240,000 seniors in San Diego County cannot afford the basic combination of food, housing, healthcare and transportation
  • Social Security payment average around $1,360 despite basic expenses exceeding $1,900
  • Ratio of working age individuals to seniors is shifting from 3-to-1 to 1-to-1 over coming decades

The truth about our existing – and growing – crisis among seniors for healthcare, housing, transportation, and even basic food security is that this is a serious problem for all of us, regardless of income.  Seniors in failing health are disproportionately cared for by their female children – compounding the challenges women face while trying to close a persistent wage gap and, often, maintain primary responsibilities for children.  The issue is also especially acute for members of the LGBTQ community, as our government policies long made it illegal to even have children – which places greater strain on individuals and peer networks.

The challenges are significant but help exists. St. Paul’s Senior Services runs the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is exactly the type of comprehensive senior support that makes a huge difference.  The challenge is that we have not sounded the alarm regarding scaling our support for such programs. PACE is funded by state MediCal coverage – which is health coverage for poor residents.  I took a tour of St. Paul’s to make sure I had a firsthand appreciation of the issues.

As San Diegans look to shoring up our fraying and unstable safety net in the county, elevating system supports like this one will become critical. An important step in the process is making sure more people understand the crisis we are in so we can build the will now to address it. That’s exactly what I am pushing to do. Thanks for reading.