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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

STATE OF CALIFORNIA - LONG TERM SERVICES AND SUPPORT - ARE WE ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF OUR GROWING " ELDER " POPULATION.

Senator Richard Pan chaired an Information Hearing to understand better how our Elders in California - meet their needs.

As usually happens - in the year 2018 - we have just realized - that we need to collect the pertinent and relevant data.More to address a viable and sustainable model - to address the care and service our Seniors - more those who are disabled and bed ridden.

California and a City and County of San Francisco brag they are progressive - and as much as they say they are - they have failed miserably to address the " aging issues " facing our Elders.

In fact we are just working on a survey - to best find out what is happening at ground zero. 

This needs assessment - that should have be done ten years ago - latest five years ago - we have just begun in the year 2018.

When we look at how the money is spent - most of money is spent on the Disable Population.

The  Disable Population  - that even though it forms a smaller percentage - as I said - more money is spent on this segment of the Senior population. 

About 15% of the totally population needing Long Term Services and Supports are the Disabled Population.

In the year 2018 it is estimated that 15% of the total population are Seniors fall into the Disabled Category.

In their Golden Years - many of the Seniors are suffering because they have to deal with lack of housing needs, transportation, hospitals, nutrition, medical equipment, support to help them taking their medicines - help in  many areas  - such as rehabilitation and more.

In San Francisco those providing Home Care Services do a magnificent job.

Since there are such a large number of Home Care Providers - most of them family members - those in charge - have created programs and workshops to train and inform those so that they can better provide the best care - in a meaningful manner.

The Media-Cal system embraced by the State and the Medicare system provided by the Federal Retirement System - has tried its best to provide the best care to our Seniors.

The care varies from one Health Care Provider to another -  Kaiser Permanente - a Health Maintenance Organization - that offers Senior Advantage Care - has created a model that is touted to work.

The Senior Advantage Care that Kaiser offers - may provide the basics - but the problems arises when " disabilities slow down a Senior " - bring about mobility issues, nutrition, rehabilitation, housing, access to recreation and other facilities.

How all these factors -play a key factor - in the well being of a Senior, an Elder, those that we pray and hope - enjoy their Golden Years.

In realty most of these Seniors - are left to fend for themselves.

It must be noted that most of the Seniors - those who maintain themselves entirely on Social Security find it difficult to live in San Francisco.

One bedroom rents for $3500 and two bedrooms for $5500 - even more - depending on the location. 

It is absolutely impossible for any Senior getting only Social Security to live on this income only. For reason best know to our Society - this is a problem - and this problems has become a life and death issue.

One has just to visit the Single Residency Occupancy Hotel - where Seniors share a toilet and a kitchen on one floor.

They live there because the rents are low - but even living in these horrible conditions - many do not have money left past the 5th day of the month.

Many go to Saint Anthony's, Glide Memorial, St Martin De Pores - to have their meals - and thank God for such places - they survive. 

Many visit clinics such as HealthRight360, Clinics run by non-profits that go out of their way to support our beloved - Seniors. God bless these folks who love and sacrifice so much.

Visiting the living rooms of the Seniors in the SROs and other living models - where they get three meals a day - and minimal support - I learned a lot. I saw the suffering but also the little HOPE that keeps the ailing Seniors - living.

Small  and congested with furniture and other essentials - leaving the Seniors little room to move around - in most of the Single Residency Occupancy Hotel rooms. 

I have gone out of my way to study this situation - have been waiting for validated data - have still to read a good sound validated report - so that I can be enlighten on this much need matter that needs to be addressed - linked to the Seniors who are living their Golden Years - in places that are NOT conducive to health environment in San Francisco.

Why is it that we have chosen to undermine our Senior population ?

More - those that cannot function - because of disabilities - mental, physical, psychological and others.

From time to time I am shocked and horrified to visit someone that I worked with at the Presidio of San Francisco - or someone I have known when they were healthy - become afflicted with a disability that makes them bed ridden. 

At times I am horrified - how a person - woman or man - can succumb to some diseases - and lose all their faculties.

The State of Affairs when it become to our Mentally Challenged and Seniors - is mind boggling - with no beds available - and told again and again - that they will have to be transferred out of State - by officials with a straight face.

This situation is the same with sub-acute beds - again and again loved ones are told - they will be transferred our of State - by hospitals such as Sutter Care.

The Jewish Community has taken care of their own - by acquiring land and building a Home for a Aged - right by Mission Street and Silver - with State of the Art Facilities - and have done good by their own people.

Again the Jewish Community has created institutions on Geary Street - favoring the study of Gerontology or Biogerontology the Science of Aging.  

Our University of California San Francisco - and some other institutions do more - and cater to Medicare, Medical, and those that belong to other Health Care Services.

In San Francisco there has not been a Senior Care Coordination  effort - to benefit all.

With the constant changes - Saint Luke bought by Sutter Hospital - depriving those who need health help - more, our Seniors are left to fend for themselves.

Seniors suffer more in a situation such as the changes made at Saint Luke - now Sutter Hospital - and there are other situations - none of which make it easy for the Seniors - to get help. Thrown to the wind - to fend for themselves.

In fact try contacting any Agency Local, State, or Federal to get help for a Senior in San Francisco - and you will find it to be an exercise in futility. 

Of course the San Francisco Board of Supervisors - all of them - have never, ever once discussed the Health Care of our Seniors - the Commission on Aging - discussing moot points - going in circles - and shooting themselves in the foot.

I have visited in cognito some of those home - trying to help Seniors more with mental and physical problems - who are provided three meals a day - and provided some amenities - mostly in very poor conditions.

It is pathetic to hear these so called authorities - blurt statics that cannot be verified on matters that pertain to the Seniors.

If  you carefully hear those so called experts give their testimony - you see again and again contradictory statements. The other things you notice - the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Agencies work in silos and do what they think is best for themselves - never, ever having a holistic approach. 

Missing in the equation Adult Protective Services - when one monitors the role of this agency - it is simply mind boggling - more as the Seniors have more and more cognitive issues that adversely impact their lives.

Just imagine some agencies just getting used to using Electronic Time Sheets.

I have heard many complaints - agencies loosing or misplacing Time Sheets - and problems with Pay Roll.

It is not uncommon for some flimsy reason - those caring for their loved ones - told that the amount of hours spent on home care for their loved ones - will be curtailed - putting the Home Care Workers in harms way - besides stressing them out - working long hours and getting paid very little.

It has proved again and again that family members are best suited in the majority of cases - to best serve the needs of the family member that need - In Home Care Services.

Again it is pathetic when senility creeps in and those Seniors needing help cannot get any help. 

Some Private Centers offering Social and Health Care amenities - have to pay as much as $10,000 a month.

Another factor that most have not taken into consideration - adversely impacting those that have Life Insurance - and are asked by the those providing Social Services, Health Care, Meals - if they have Life Insurance.

Then without providing the patient legal help understanding any contract to tap into the Life Insurance Funds  - make them sign documents and work with the Insurance Companies - to use this money - as they please.

This Life Insurance issues linked to Life Term Services Supports  - used to provide care to the one who has paid into Life Insurance - in now becoming fashionable to be tapped into - by unsavory entities - offering Long Term Care.

The State of California - studying and trying to react to the many issues and find solutions - on Long Term Care.

The every growing Senior population linked to  Long Term Services and Supports - this population is growing rapidly - the Baby Boomers - most are 65 year plus - in the past 5 years are growing by leaps and bounds.

In 20 years from now there will be more Seniors than those under 18 years - or so the experts say.

The experts may say more - but, what are we doing to prepare ourselves for this day - that is not far away.

In San Francisco - we have Seniors living in Tents.

Those living in Recreational Vehicles - are harassed - the City and County of San Francisco - does not have have a sustainable and viable solution to address the needs of our Seniors - more when it come to decent affordable housing and health services.

Our Mayors starting from Willie L. Brown, Jr., Gavin Newsom, Edwin Mah Lee, the present Mayor London Breed - have been talking the talk - but have failed to walk the walk.