The Commission on Social Action of St. Paul’s African Methodist Episcopal Church held a community meeting on aging last Thursday in San Bernardino with representatives from the California Department on Aging (CDA) and the San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Senior Services.
Held in the sanctuary, the discussion included state representatives and members of social action committees led by former Assemblywoman and committee chair Cheryl Brown, who represented the 47th San Bernardino County Assembly District from 2012 to 2016.
Brown spoke with community members and leaders from San Bernardino and Riverside counties about the programs and resources available to older Californians and their caregivers.
“The state has committed millions of dollars to help older Californians have a better quality of life through the Master Plan on Aging. And care is 4th of the 5 goals established in the state’s Master Plan on Aging,” Brown told California Black Media.
CDA Director Susan DeMarois also attended the meeting.
CDA administers programs that serve seniors, adults with disabilities, family caregivers, and residents in long-term care facilities throughout the state. It has a budget of $450 million, and according to the strategic plan, CDA’s first goal is to advance Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan The California Master Plan on Aging.
Newsom’s “Aging Master Plan” was introduced as an executive order in the summer of 2019. Conceptualized as a five-point plan, his framework covers housing, health care, equity, care that “works,” and enabling aging in place.
According to DeMarois, each item in the governor’s master plan has its own budget and will be implemented over the next 8 years.
During the meeting — titled “Lunch, Listen and Learn” — community members voiced their concerns and suggestions specifically regarding the care of black seniors in the Inland Empire. A major topic of discussion was to use familiar (traditional) ways and channels of communication to reach Black Elders.
Sharon Nevins, director of the San Bernardino County Department of Adults and Senior Services, spoke about the ways the county has been involved in addressing these issues.
“We have staff in the community providing information,” Nevins said.
Nevins emphasized the importance of black churches and their unique influence on black elders in California.
“We are definitely reaching out to the churches. We’ve always done that,” Sharon Nevins
DeMarois hailed San Bernardino as a model for the rest of the state because the city “meets the needs of the whole person.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), California was tied with Hawaii in 2019 for states with the highest in the nation life expectancy on average about 81 years old.
Part of the state’s plan to address the black senior community is to partner with ethnic media organizations to spread the word about the resources available to Californians in the advanced stages of aging.
DeMarois, like Nevins, acknowledges that much of the state’s plan to reach black elders is through local churches.
“It’s multifaceted,” DeMarois said. “We know that faith in the black community is a proven path.”
One of the organizations mentioned during the community meeting — an organization that DeMarois said he took note of — was the Inland Empire Pastor’s Association.
DeMarois expressed the need for state and local agencies to implement “coordinated strategies” to address the challenges facing the state’s aging population.
State Department of Aging: There Is Help for Elder Californians – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link State Department of Aging: There Is Help for Elder Californians – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel