Serving more than Healthy Meals to Seniors

September 25, 2013

James is a new senior resident at one of downtown San Diego’s single room occupancy hotels. James is new in San Diego and has no family or friends nearby. The small room is equipped with a twin bed and a tiny sink; bathrooms are shared with other hotel residents. Paying for the hotel room to avoid living on the streets is about all that James can afford.

James found out about Senior Community Centers home delivered meals program through other hotel residents and called to sign up as well. Kimberly, one of our home delivered meals drivers, came by the next day with a hot and nutritious lunch as well as breakfast for the next day. On Fridays, our drivers deliver breakfast and lunch for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately, James had to decline the meals because he could not store or heat up the food.

Letting one of our clients go hungry for an entire weekend – and many other weekends to follow – is not an option.  Senior Community Centers’ Food Service Director took extra ordinary measures and discovered a small fridge and a microwave in working condition in our limited storage space.

James was very grateful and surprised when Kimberly delivered a fridge and microwave along with fresh meals during her next visit! We sure made his day and are excited to know that James has access to healthy food seven days a week.

SONY DSC

Find out more about our Home Delivered Meals Program at www.servingseniors.org.

Advertisements

Throwback Thursday: Groundbreaking Ceremony

September 12, 2013

Even before the revitalization plan for San Diego’s East Village came to fruition, Senior Community Centers took a bold step and began the construction of our first affordable senior housing complex in 2002. Petco Park opened in 2004, residential buildings began to sprout up around the ball park in 2005.

Market Square Manor – now Potiker Family Senior Residence – opened in 2003 and 200 seniors found a stable and affordable place to call home.

SCC.shovel.March-02

Learn more about our affordable housing options at http://www.servingseniors.org.


Picture of the Month: City Council President Todd Gloria Serves Lunch

August 30, 2013

Todd Gloria

San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria and his team served lunch at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center this month. While seniors always feel honored to greet and chat with Mr. Gloria, Violet was especially excited about her special birthday experience!

###

Want to serve lunch and put big smiles on our seniors’ faces? Visit www.servingseniors.org and find out How to Help!


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


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.

IMG_2497

(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.

###

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.


Cultural Competency: A Closer Look at San Diego’s Asian American Senior Population

July 12, 2013

The number of Asian seniors who benefit from our culturally competent services is growing. I am happy to announce that as of July 1, our Mandarin-speaking supportive services case manager Maggie will be available to serve our seniors full-time from Monday through Friday.

25% of the seniors we support at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center are Asian and of that, 14% are Chinese.

IMG_2036-2394736898-Oc

(At Senior Community Centers’ Chinese New Year Celebration)

Working with culturally diverse seniors is very rewarding and can be challenging at the same time, especially when it comes to something as important as addressing healthcare needs that could prevent seniors from living healthy and independent lives.

According a recent cultural competency workshop by Yawen Li, PhD, Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work at San Diego State University, Asian health beliefs attribute illness to karma or curses. Combined with strong superstitions and putting a lot of power into alternative healing methods, Western medicine may be the very last resort to get help. While respecting the beliefs of Asian cultures, our support services team is ready help in a culturally competent way.

Since inception of the Chinese Outreach Program in 2011, our Mandarin-speaking case manager has conducted over 1,000 visits helping nearly 200 clients. The resolution rate for medical issues is over 90%. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(Maggie and a senior at the Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center)

Our success rate is in part due to our collaborative partnerships, ongoing cultural competency training and dedicated staff members like Maggie. The following list shows ways to bridge some of the cultural differences between Asian American traditions and Western habits:

  • Be aware of differences among Asian American ethnicities
  • Avoid using stereotypes as portrayed in US media
  • Be aware of non-verbal cues as Asian Americans can be very sensitive to non-verbal communication (lack of eye contact implies not being respectful or not paying attention)
  • Use a title instead of calling by direct name
  • Work closely with family members that were identified by the senior as  the representative of the family
  • Be considerate of the high respect for authority figures within extended family and that the behavior or achievements of one person reflects on the entire family
  • Be aware that mental illness is seen as having “a bad gene” and is highly stigmatized
  • Explain problems and treatment alternatives clearly and be ready to have recommendations
  • Make sure the senior and family members understand what you are trying to communicate; nodding heads may just signify paying respect rather than understanding
  • Western cultures focus on self-expression through language while eastern cultures focus on affect and non-verbal expression
  • Language may not accommodate all that the individual thinks and feels

We are happy to have Maggie on our team full-time to help bridge some of the cultural differences to help seniors in need live a healthy and independent life. Find out here how you can support the Chinese Outreach and Case Management Program.



%d bloggers like this: