KPBS Follow-Up Interviews on Sequestration

August 26, 2013

Last week KPBS came by the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center to follow-up on the effect that federal across-the-board budget cuts have on low-income seniors in San Diego County.

Proposed cuts to Senior Community Centers’ Meals Program have increased to $233,000 since sequestration first became a reality in March of this year. At a cost of $2.50 per meal, these cuts leave 93,200 meals unfunded. While the gridlock in Washington to figure out the final budget is getting dangerous, Senior Community Centers is committed to serve high quality food and not turn any hungry seniors away.

Empty Plates

Listen to the interview and find out what seniors have to say here:

August 22, 2013 – KPBS Follow-Up Interview on Sequestration

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Is San Diego Ready for an Aging Population?

July 22, 2013

According to a 2013 survey that was commissioned by Pfizer, Inc. and Generations United, San Diego area residents are concerned about our city and ourselves as we get old. With nearly 10,000 people turning 60 every single day and San Diego’s senior population growing by 75% to nearly 1,000,000 people over 60 by 2030, I am not surprised.

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(The tables are always full at Senior Community Centers)

The San Diego survey reveals the following findings:

  • 70% of respondents in the San Diego area agree their workplace values diversity of age but their top work related fear is not being able to get a new job (63%) followed closely by not being able to retire when planned (58%).
  • Only 22% of respondents feel the community is very prepared to provide appropriate healthcare facilities for older people and just 16% feel the community is very prepared to provide home caregiving.
  • Only 16% feel the San Diego area is very prepared with transportation options for older people and just 15% see San Diego as very prepared to provide housing for this population.
  • 56% of San Diego-area respondents feel U.S. politicians portray older generations in a positive way and more than half (53%) feel the media does, too.
  •  A huge majority (94%) agree that technology allows you to stay connected with the people in your life but that it’s a lot of work to keep up with (74%).

What does that mean for our city’s agencies and for Senior Community Centers? The survey shows we have some work to do educating San Diegans about the many fine resources that are available in our community for seniors. But it should also be taken as a wake-up call that we must be diligent about building a strong infrastructure to support the growing demands of an aging population. It is also a lesson for each of us, no matter our age, that we have both the opportunity and responsibility to do things that will keep us healthy, independent and able to fully enjoy our lives.

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The full press release can be found here: Wall Street Journal. Stay tuned to this Get Old Campaign and join the conversation at www.getold.com.


Encore Careers: 6 Tips that Help Baby Boomers Get Hired

June 21, 2013

Statistics show that the average woman lives another 23 years past 65 and the average man lives another 18 years. What would you like to do with that time?

This is the second part of a three-piece series on Encore Careers. It’s no secret that Baby Boomers are planning to remain in the workforce past the traditional retirement age. While some Baby Boomers continue to enjoy their first careers, some may want to reenter the workforce after taking some time off. Here are 6 tips that will get you ready for that Encore Career:

  1. Know what your passions are; know what you’re good at
  2. Check with your local network to find out where jobs are
  3. Use the Internet to search for senior employment opportunities
  4. Update your resume showcasing your talent and experience
  5. Go to school and utilize community education programs
  6. Volunteer to increase your chances of getting hired

For detailed information about each of these tips and examples of where to look for help, watch my discussion in the KUSI Newsroom by clicking the picture below:

KUSI Encore Career

Check back next Friday for Part 3 covering Encore Careers: Resources and Success Stories


San Diego Seniors Personally Thank Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52)

June 10, 2013

Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) has made a bold statement and continues to advocate that across-the-board spending cuts are unwise: “The rules Congress imposes on others should apply to us too.”

IMG_2408pRep. Peters announced that he will take eight percent of his Congressional salary, which equates to about $1,300 per month, and donate it to Senior Community Centers to supplement meals for at-risk seniors. There is no proof that cutting funds to senior nutrition programs saves tax dollars.  On the contrary, evidence shows that providing seniors nutritionally balanced meals keeps them healthy, independent, and significantly reduces healthcare costs on the taxpayer.

Today, Rep. Peters had the opportunity to meet the beneficiaries of his exemplary gesture of support. He was welcomed at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center with a roar of applause and received genuine handshakes and words of thanks while he served lunch to the seniors.

Senior Community Centers and thousands of San Diego seniors like the ones seen in the video clip below once again say “Thank You, Congressman Scott Peters”!


Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) Sequesters Own Paychecks for Senior Community Centers

May 7, 2013

Seniors, staff and Senior Community Centers board members are applauding Congressman Scott Peters‘ leadership for speaking up against sequestration.

IMG_1446(Seniors at the Potiker Family Senior Residence located in the 52nd District thank Congressman Scott Peters!)

During Rep. Peters’ recent visit at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center, I shared the impact that sequestration has on the seniors we serve. Not only does Congressman Scott Peters fight to protect senior nutrition programs, he just set a powerful example by applying the 8% across-the-board cut to his own Congressional paycheck and donating the difference to Senior Community Centers! Thank you for your support, Congressman Scott Peters!

Please read the full press release below:

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Rep. Peters ‘Sequesters’ His Own Pay; 

Donates it to Feed Seniors In Need

“The rules Congress imposes on others should apply to us too” – Congressman Peters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) applied the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration to his own paycheck, stating that “any rules Congress imposes on federal employees and all Americans ought to apply to us, too.” He will take eight percent of his monthly salary, which equates to about $1,300 per month, and donate it to Senior Community Centers of San Diego to supplement meals for at-risk seniors. The Senior Community Centers has had to cut services to seniors, many of whom are veterans, due to funding losses from the sequester.

“While the idea for the sequester predates my time in Congress, we should all agree that it is terrible policy; none of us would run our business or household budget this way, and it is no way to run a country,” Congressman Peters said.  “In March I introduced a motion to end the sequester and I will continue to look for opportunities to fix it.”

(Video: Congressman Peters’ motion to end the sequester can be seen here)

“Federal employees, military contractors, and thousands of small businesses and individuals who contract with the federal government are being forced to take indiscriminate pay cuts.  Members of Congress should share the impact of these cuts as well.”

“Senior Community Centers has lost nearly $60,000 for our senior meal program due to sequestration. That equates to about 21,000 fewer meals we are able to provide this year,” said Paul Downey, CEO and President.

“Nearly ninety-five percent of the seniors we serve are at or below the poverty line, so these meals make a big difference to their health and their lives. We are grateful to Congressman Peters for his long-time interest and support of what we do, and very much appreciate his leadership and his willingness to do his part to help us help the needy seniors we serve,” he said.

“In San Diego there are more than 30,000 people taking furlough days, and countless other programs are reducing services,” Peters said. “It is my hope that Washington can finally have an adult discussion about our nation’s priorities and the budgeting process.

“Senior Community Centers in San Diego provide life line resources for some of my most vulnerable constituents: low-income seniors, many of whom are below the poverty line, who might not otherwise get the food and care they need.  Sequestration has hit these centers extremely hard, as it has many other organizations in our region.  By donating the sequestered amount of my own pay, at least we can provide some relief from these cuts to area seniors and elderly veterans.”

Senior Community Centers of San Diego noted the impact that the donation would have on their facility: “At Senior Community Centers our cost per meal is $2.65. With $1000, we could provide 377 more nutritious meals to seniors. This investment in meals keeps our seniors well, and reduces the need for more costly healthcare interventions. In San Diego, an emergency room visit begins at $765, while one day in the hospital costs $4,373. Additionally, meals provide social engagement, and educational and wellness opportunities. 71% of older adults who participate in the nutrition program at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center participate in other activities or seek assistance with clinical services.”

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Congressman Scott Peters serves the 52nd District of California which covers much of central San Diego County including large portions of the City of San Diego, Poway, & Coronado.  He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology.  The Congressman is a former City Council President and Port Commissioner.


On The Air with Drew Schlosberg for U-T Community Spotlight – “Impact of Senior Community Centers”

April 9, 2013

A few weeks ago, I shared my radio interview with Drew Schlosberg, host of U-T Community Spotlight covering  “Seniors and Technology.”  We also talked about the wide array of services that are available through Senior Community Centers and the role we play in our community.

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(Click the “On Air” picture to listen to the interview.)

Minute-by-Minute Highlights:

Minute 1:00 – Importance of keeping seniors healthy and independent

Minute 2:02 – Collaborative partnerships save SCC over $1MM

Minute 4:28 – Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center utilization

Minute 5:19 – Homeless Prevention, homelessness trends

Minute 7.47 – Senior Nutrition Program and reasons for hunger

Minute 9.57 – Older Americans Act and what it pays for

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!


On The Air with Drew Schlosberg for U-T Community Spotlight – “Seniors and Technology”

February 25, 2013

I visited my good friend Drew Schlosberg, host of “U-T Community Spotlight”, in the studio for a conversation about Seniors and Technology. Listen to the interview here.

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Minute-by-Minute Highlights:

Minute 0.49 – At-risk high school students teach seniors how to use computers while forming meaningful relationships

Minute 3.49 – Integrated technology measures biometrics for preventative healthcare

Minute 5.00 – New technologies are on the horizon for home-bound clients

Minute 6.10 – Ways to get involved with our programs

Minute 8.50 – Upcoming Event on February 27

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!


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