Photo Friday: Caring For Hearts on World Heart Day

September 30, 2011

In Honor of World Heart Day: Seniors Receive Free Heart Health Screenings from SDSU Nursing and UCSD Medical Students. Screenings and information were provided to seniors at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center today.

student nurse practitioner with patient

Photo: Jaimee Hare, BSN, RN, nurse practitioner student, SDSU School of Nursing with her patient, Tom Scott.

My interview with NBC’s Califonia Non-Stop: Tips for seniors to protect themselves from financial abuse

September 27, 2011

Yesterday, I appeared on NBC San Diego’s local news program on the California Non-Stop Channel to discuss tips for seniors and their loved ones on how to prevent being a victim of financial abuse.

Seniors are living longer and more often in their own homes independently. This can make seniors vulnerable to scammers. According to MetLife, older Americans are losing $2.9 billion each year to financial abuse. This is a 12 percent increase from the $2.6 billion estimated in 2008.

Financial abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of income level, living situation, race, ethnicity, religion or social status.

Here are some great tips we spoke to, provided by Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood from the San Diego District Attorney’s Office. Greenwood is the head of Elder Abuse Prosecution. He encourages anyone who suspects elder abuse to contact the Adult Protective Services hotline at (800) 510-2020.

Tips courtesy of San Diego District Attorney’s Office:

Choose a caregiver with caution

Do not assume that by hiring a caregiver through a bonded agency you are guaranteed to get someone who has been checked. There is no current law requiring mandatory background checks for in-home caregivers in California. Read the rest of this entry »

Preventing Elder Abuse

September 21, 2011

In the Washington Post, I read the latest details about actor Mickey Rooney suing his stepson among others for defrauding him of millions of dollars over the past decade. As unfortunate Mr. Rooney’s situation is, it is a reminder that elder abuse really can and does happen to anyone.

Elder abuse victims often live in silent desperation, fearing retaliation from their abusers. Many times, it takes the courage of a family member or loved one to take action and stop the abuse. Earlier this summer, Senior Community Centers staff shared information on recognizing and preventing elder abuse:

What is elder abuse?

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, “elder abuse refers to intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or “trusted” individual that causes (or potentially causes) harm to a vulnerable elder.” While California’s most prevalent areas of elder abuse are physical and emotional abuse, financial abuse, and abuse in long-term care facilities, there are many different types of elder abuse:

  • Physical Abuse – Use of force to threaten or physically injure a vulnerable elder
  • Emotional Abuse – Verbal attacks, threats, rejection, isolation, or belittling acts that cause (or could cause) mental anguish, pain, or distress to a senior
  • Sexual Abuse – Sexual contact that is forced, tricked, threatened, or otherwise coerced upon a vulnerable elder, including anyone who is unable to grant consent
  • Exploitation – Theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority, and use of undue influence as a lever to gain control over an older person’s money or property
  • Neglect – A caregiver’s failure or refusal to provide for a vulnerable elder’s safety, physical, or emotional needs
  • Abandonment – Desertion of a frail or vulnerable elder by anyone with a duty of care Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend Wrap-Up

September 20, 2011

Laura with Shamu

Having Fun with Advocacy

On Saturday September 17, we participated in Politifest hosted by Voice of San Diego and NBC 7. We shared information about our organziation, invited San Diegans to join our network, Seniors First San Diego and watched the first 2012 mayoral debate.

NANASP Encourages You to Participate in FOOD DAY  on October 24, 2011

Food Day seeks to bring together Americans from all walks of life—parents, teachers, and students; health professionals, community organizers, and local officials; chefs, school lunch providers, and eaters of all stripes—to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.  – Read more at

Seniors Welcome SDSU Students

September 14, 2011

san diego state university student interns with seniorsPaul invites Amber Brychta, MSW and Director of Academic Programs and Research SDSU/SCC Collaboration for Health Aging and Workforce Development, to share more about CHAWD’s sophomore class.

As another school year begins, Senior Community Centers welcomes a new group of students and faculty from San Diego State University (SDSU) who will participate in the Collaboration for Healthy Aging and Workforce Development (CHAWD).  This collaboration between Senior Community Centers and the San Diego State University College of Health and Human Services, made possible by the Gary and Mary West Foundation, enters its second year. The major goal of CHAWD is to strengthen healthcare services offered to seniors through the advancement of empirical knowledge of aging issues and the enhancement of higher education and workforce development in geriatric healthcare and allied fields.  The seniors  benefit via free health and social services provided by SDSU students and faculty, while the students and faculty benefit via field experience and research opportunities; furthermore, seniors of the (near and distant) future will benefit from improved services resulting from the research conducted and education offered through CHAWD.

Read the rest of this entry »

Moving Forward: Assembly Bill 138, The Elder Index Takes Its First Steps

September 2, 2011

elder index wall of lettersIn July, over 250 seniors participated in a letter-writing campaign to State Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to support adoption of the Elder Index for planning purposes in counties throughout the state.  The Elder Index uses actual data in four key areas – housing, healthcare, food and transportation – to determine the income a senior needs to have his or her basic needs met.

Government currently uses the archaic Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to assess economic needs for older adults.  The problem with the FPL is its questionable methodology and data.  A researcher in 1964 determined that in 1955 the average American family spent one-third of income on food.  That number was multiplied by three creating the FPL.  The only change from 1964 is that the FPL is adjusted annually by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).     The stark reality is that we are making major economic policy decisions impacting millions of seniors based on data more than a half century old using a flawed hypothesis.

Nowhere is this more evident that in the chasm between the FPL and the Elder Index here in San Diego.  The FPL is $10,830 per year.  The Elder Index in San Diego is $24,000 – more than double FPL.  This is why so many seniors are falling through the cracks – they simply don’t have enough money to take care of themselves.

On August 25th, thanks to the leadership of Senator Kehoe, the Elder Index bill (AB 138) passed by a 6-3 vote in the Appropriations Committee. I am extraordinarily proud of the seniors who made their voices heard loudly in Sacramento.  Getting the Elder Index out of committee is a major victory in a year of tough cuts for seniors.  Furthermore, on Wednesday the senate voted “aye” 25-14 with amendments.   Read the rest of this entry »

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