The pandemic shined a spotlight on the myriad needs of our senior community. Senior Concerns was able to quickly pivot, expanding current programs and creating new programs to meet emergent needs. Below is a snapshot of our impact in 2020-21:
- Delivered more than 288,000 meals to 700 homebound seniors through our Meals On Wheels/Home Delivered Meals program.
- Produced and distributed 1,000 COVID-19 Preparedness Kits free of charge to seniors in the community. The kits included a thermometer, pulse oximeter, disposable gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer, antiseptic wipes and more.
- Delivered more than 11,000 bags of pantry items to 250 seniors, and provided grocery shopping for seniors so they could avoid the fees and confusion of online shopping apps.
- Our Social Work team fielded more than 4,000 calls from seniors and family caregivers, providing one-on-one support, support groups, resources, and information.
- Fielded more than 350 calls related to the COVID-19 vaccine, helping seniors to schedule appointments and assisting bedbound seniors get vaccinations through the County’s mobile vaccine clinics.
- Senior Concerns hosted birthday parties over Zoom because many seniors were alone and unable to gather with friends and family to celebrate. These monthly celebrations have brought joy into the lives of seniors, helped reduce the loneliness many have felt this past year, and forged lasting friendships.
- To keep seniors informed, we moved our monthly Path to Positive Aging seminar series to Zoom and hosted five seminars specifically about COVID, as well as seminars on understanding Medicare, preparing your home for wildfire season, and more. Hosting the seminars on Zoom has allowed us to bring in national experts and reach a greater number of people.
A Tradition of Serving Older Adults and Their Family Caregivers
Since 1975, Senior Concerns has been dedicated to serving seniors and family caregivers. We serve eastern Ventura County and western Los Angeles County.
Senior Concerns’ programs are proven to help improve the lives of seniors in the community. Meals On Wheels/Home Delivered Meals program effectively addresses food insecurity by delivering fresh meals to seniors 365 days per year. Our Adult Day Program for seniors with cognitive or physical impairment provides a safe, nurturing environment, as well as vital respite for stressed family caregivers.
Senior Concerns’ pro bono Caregiver Support Center offers information and resources, support, family consultations and education to family (unpaid) caregivers. Our Senior Advocates help seniors navigate often complex challenges such as Medicare and other benefit programs, and links seniors to support services in the community. We work with attorneys and Certified Financial Planners to provide pro bono legal and financial counseling.
Our In-Home Geriatric Assessment provides a review of care needs and options, evidenced-based assessments focused on depression, cognition, and quality of life, and review of home safety, nutrition status, and social support, as well as discussion of legal protections (Advance Directives, Powers of Attorney, and POLST) and healthcare/long-term care planning.
Our critical work has been recognized by many community leaders. The Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce has named Senior Concerns 2021 Non-Profit of the Year. The Ventura County Area Agency on Aging has named Senior Concerns Business of the Year and has awarded us their 2021 Legacy Award. The California Lutheran University Community Leaders Association has awarded Andrea Gallagher, our President, the 2021 William E. Hamm Award for her leadership in guiding Senior Concerns through the pandemic and ensuring we were able to meet vital and emerging needs of the senior community.
Looking Towards the Future
Between 2012 and 2050, our country will experience considerable growth in its older population, projected to be 83.7 million. According to the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging, there are now more people living in the County who are age 60+ than who are under the age of 18.
Many seniors age 60+ are living with chronic health conditions, dementia, limited financial resources, transportation challenges, and food insecurity.
One in two in the age 85+ group will experience dementia, and most will be cared for at home by a family member, who themselves may experience a variety of physical, emotional, financial, and social burdens associated with the caregiving role.
The landscape of care and services for seniors is increasingly moving to the home. Most Americans over the age of 65 live in the community, not in nursing homes or other institutions. Only 4.5 percent (about 1.5 million) of older adults live in nursing homes and 2 percent (1 million) in assisted living facilities. This means that there will continue to be a greater reliance on community-based services, such as those offered by Senior Concerns.
Further complicating the picture, the number of potential family caregivers will not keep pace with the number of older adults. In 2010, the ratio was 7 potential caregivers for every senior age 80+. By 2050, that number is expected to fall to just 3.1.
Over 80% of senior care is provided by family or friends. Family caregivers need support and care themselves to address the negative impact caregiving can have on their physical and emotional health.
At Senior Concerns, we recognize that aging in community is important because it is at the core of how we live every day. We converse with neighbors, or bring food to a sick friend. Being connected and relying on one another is what makes us vital, especially as we age.
Looking towards the future, we will see the need for our services increase year after year, as we see a growth in the need of our senior and family caregiver populations.
Senior Concerns is committed to providing a broad range of programs designed to address the needs of a rapidly growing senior community as they age in place. Our goal is to provide convenient and affordable access to vital care and services to seniors and family caregivers.
Most of Senior Concerns programs are offered free of charge. We charge a low fee for the Meals On Wheels/Home Delivered Meals Program and the Adult Day Program. We charge a one-time fee for the In-Home Geriatric Assessments. Scholarships are available for the Meals On Wheels and Adult Day Programs for those with proven financial need.
Funding for our programs is provided through the generosity of corporate, foundation and government grants, as well as through the generous support of individuals in our community.