Sunday, October 9th


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Good morning and welcome to another edition of living veteran San Diego public service presentation of the and a count San Diego radio stations and Carrie Lee. Serving seniors is transforming the aging experience for low income seniors in San Diego County. They're doing this through their very successful and innovative programs that help seniors live independently. For as long as possible. These programs not only have a positive impact on seniors but on our community as a whole. Joining us this morning is serving seniors president and CEO Paul Downey and senior care navigator Joseph Gavin. Welcome Paul welcome joked that she again Gary thanks Gary great to be here nice to that meet you John Paul always a pleasure seeing you would have you on the show. Serving seniors in helping San Diego seniors for years now well this is our four. Six year and we were the very first senior center senior nutrition provider back in 1970 and have been serving seniors ever sense and Abbott a little background information and I'm serving seniors well what we do you mean we do we do a variety of things but meals are the core service we provide so we do almost 600000. Meals a year. We divide that among ten Conger dining sites in the county and we serve about 500 home bound. Every single day and one of the things that makes us very unique. Is that we provide meals 365 days a year so our our folks get breakfast and lunch. And it doesn't matter if it's Mother's Day Christmas Day New Year's Day weekend. Every single day because the philosophy we have as we all lead every day and these folks media every day. But one of the things that's its unique about the people we serve though is that 95% of them are living below the poverty level so. The meals we provide our relief corps. Two to keeping them healthy so meals are key reviewed case management services. Which means social workers helping when it's no Medicare and and medi cal and all the Social Security all sorts of different issues housing issues. Would you care management with nurses that are helping people navigate the health care system. We do activities. We do civic engagement where we find meaningful volunteer opportunities for for genius in the community. We have a transitional program for homeless seniors. We have through fifteen units of permanent supportive housing and so our goal is to have really this integrated. Kind of cocoon of services to make sure people stay healthy and safe. And we'll talk about some of those those services and programs that offer a big part of what you do is is helping seniors maintain their dignity. And independents right that's key we we know that if we're able to help them maintain their their their dignity. I'm crippled provide them the support so they stay healthy. We know they're gonna stay independent. And that's we all want to man if there's anyone here who aspires to go about our days in a skilled nursing facility. We wanna be at home and wanted to be able to enjoy our lives and so if we provide that safety net of services. These people are going to to be able to thrive by providing that that assistance. And hopefully live out their days you know until they passed away at home. Com or if they do need to go into some sort of higher level of cares only for very short time at the end at the end of their lives so. That's really what we are about this is trying to keep people healthy independent. We also know that independents seniors in addition to enjoying higher quality of life. Actually cost the system a lot less money. And these days when we're looking at you know Medicare budgets and many cal budgets that's really important factors well. Now it's less less trips to the hospital emergency room exactly what you if you if you go to the end of the emergency room that you can be several thousand dollars into it. Without even being hospitalized in good to be hospitalized. You know 23 day stay in the hospital can suddenly be 10151000. Dollars if you had a in the icu. It can be a couple 100000 dollars if you're in for a week for two. And so our goal is that if we can. Identify even health issue before becomes a crisis issue in to see a doctor get that taking care of through whether it's medication or whatever the appropriate treatment as. And avoid that paramedic ride to the UR to the hospital maybe to the ICU. We don't have to be. Right too often to save a bundle money. For the system in and I think we're we're right quite a bit in terms of that preventative interventions to keep people healthy and an independent. I actually was in the hospital a couple of years ago and I was there for less than 24 hours and 20000 dollars and a that's not common we work with the physician. To provide some advice to us he was telling me that. If you he he percent of used university in two weeks in the icu at UCSD. Can easily be half million dollars. That's it and obviously incredible amount of money by simply preventing that from occurring and it is huge savings and and and go over your broker if if with Medicare. Costs continue to rise with the demographics are seen in this country. And all of us to cut down. The need for long term care what exactly and watch him here can be very you know can be very expensive for books there are long term care facilities. That he went to a long term care facility can easily be 5000 dollars a month and and unless you buy long term care insurance. We pay for that out of pocket and to your poor enough to qualify for mad cow. And in that cal wells will help but you might not be in a facility. That you would like to be and yet find a facility that'll take Medicare so a lot of lot of people go broke. We have long term here in health care costs and in fact some of the people who we have seen through our homeless prevention program. If you asked them what happened it was a spouse got sick when they got sick and they went through the life savings and they tumble. Into homelessness. Because they go through the life savings they may they did everything right they save money at the end of the day. They're broke and until they get porn have to do to qualify for other services. Like mad cow that are there in a bind. So what's the admission that of serving seniors help the seniors in poverty with a healthy fulfilling lives. And so we we really like to emphasize. The poverty aspect because of doubts that mentioned 95% over from triple of the federal poverty level median income is about 850 dollars a month. For our folks. Many of them live in the single room occupancy hotels. In downtown San Diego where rents for about 700 dollars a month. So you can do the arithmetic. You're making 850 and you spend 700 dollars on brand that's about a 150 dollars or about five dollars a day. To live on for all of your other expenses from food to him over the counter medication to a new pair of shoes. And the reality is it doesn't it doesn't work so we stepped in we provide the meals we provide the wraparound services. And to basically keep people from from fall through the cracks and that you follow through the cracks. Our job is to try to. Think about that I'm going to be actively being healthy and productive lives and it depends on who you speak to but what does serving seniors consider the HD senior. We consider sixty. And that's because we do receive some funding from from the government through the older Americans act. Which helps with some of our parts of our meal cost not all of our meal costs and so of the government about bill and consider sixty. Four when you ask that question and it's it's actually quite confusing because. Anybody that's turned fifty has gotten nice letter from AARP. But. There are some senior housing facilities and its 55. Older Americans act is is sixty. Early Social Security is 62. The normal regular Social Security is 65. To ten and when you were born could be 66 or could even be almost 67. And then if you delay it they can be 69 Medicare at 65. So it's it's all over the map even from the government perspective and and then you know if you ask the typical sixteen year old a 65 year old are you a senior. Most of them probably give you dirty look and say no. I'm not. So the good news for all of us is sixty fives kind of seminal year if you if you with a 65. For a woman on average you're gonna live another 21 years on average for men is about eighteen and half years. So the point is that the old days you know the whole idea was you worked to 65. You know we got a pat on the back of gold watch from the place you've worked out for forty years. You retired and you know you hope to have a few good years and and that was it now. You still got a long time post traditional retirement it's a lot of people don't don't want to retire right can't retire that don't have the money. Or they go and you know what are known as encore careers. We if they've always wanted to be docent at the museum and they will be docent or whatever whatever it is they wanna do. And this kind of re framing the way we're looking that engaging in this in this country and I'm we have the seniors and you know probably you know knows who she dissed. But you're gonna she graduated from Kennedy was due 91 years old got a bachelor's degree really learned to drive a couple years before that that's great and now I know. Now where where SS serving seniors located well our our flagship facility is located in downtown San Diego's that Gary and Mary west senior wellness center right enforce impeach. Heart of downtown but we actually have nine other site so we have a couple housing facilities. One downtown one city heights and we reach all the way down to San Ysidro lemon grove. One nation Mira mesa. So were were spread you know if it's kind of in central county. East and south. With with new sites and and senior senators. Do read we do about 600000 miles a year. So it's on a lot of food a lot of activities and a lot of case management and some support services right now you've been with serving seniors quite a while managing 2121 years almost when he tune. Okay go ahead and you've got a pretty good history will working with seniors don't she's. Yes why in addition due to begin serving his presidency you know working with with serving seniors I'm. I currently serve as the chair of the California commission on aging. The commission is actually as statutory responsibility. To provide input to the governor and legislature. On all matters all legislative matters on regulatory matters relating to order Californians. And so. Were constantly looking at more mostly proposed legislation. And weighing in on it giving critique suggestions of how we can be better where things that we think about ideas. Very involved there and recently was appointed to the American society on aging. Which is really the preeminent national organization dealing with aging issues and so that. Allows me to can keep my fingers and then advocacy from a national perspective. Is it one of the philosophical perspective we have that answer continues is. We wanna provide direct services that change and save lives by it. We have an obligation we believe to take that to lay a broader level and try to impact the lives of seniors. Not only in the state of California but across the country with some of the innovations in things that we've learned so. We have that and a local focus by a national. Perspective. On. One making policy. So let's talk about some of the services that do provide. Again meals the core program for for serving seniors right meals are core meals. You do breakfast and lunch. And so through those real people get two thirds of there. Recommended daily allowances of vitamins and cal reasoned and all of that that's that is key because a lot of them back to the five dollar a day. That they have try to buy food or by you go to the local fast food restaurant or something even with the dollar menu it's not been ago. Very far apart now and you're not gonna get the nutrition and there are very strong. Links between nutrition and health in fact some positions. We'll tell you that food is medicine nutritious food is medicine and then if you. The value of having nutritious meal can be the same as taking medication for chronic disease like diabetes is is a great example being tied can impact. How how diabetes is treated and how you maintain. It and if you happen so. Do you nutritious meals is is critical to keeping these folks health. And as well do you know if deemed appropriate calories and well as other things. And how does how does one you mentioned that your 1010 locations. Yes we have tenth or throughout the county the movement that Gary merry west you know all sinners are flagship but isn't that where we have most firm feels we also have our two superb housing buildings that we provide meals that. And then to users throughout the county I'm from Tennessee drove mayor of mesa La mesa air and on the results provide these these meals as well. As well for our home builder meal program which serves 500 meals a good thing too horrible to homebound seniors. Social Reno to rather all encompassing program with the nutrition and so anybody who's who's at the senior senator. These various senior senators were in the housing units can can take advantage of the meal program absolutely. That's right it is have to be back to the sixty and above it. But where we focus our our reach is really the poverty for low income I mean theoretically. If somebody from Russia since they wanted to come down and then have a meal they could. But that's not who we're marketing to a sort of focus really trying to focus on. On folks who were seen in dire need. Right and I think I read it what two and five San Diego seniors have to choose between rent. And food yeah absolutely I mean that's that's elder index. Which is put together by UCLA. Looks at it and they they calculate what the senior needs to meet their basic needs and so here in San Diego. They came up with us about 41%. Of gen seniors don't have enough money for their food. For their rent for the transportation. And from there health care basic stuff that transfer about a 145000. Or so. Seniors in this county and that's only grow with the demographics so that's that's a lot of people are struggling to get by. Every single day Amylin nation have to make that decision roof over your header food in your stomach absolutely. And that but unfortunately they do right and then we see that and Jim Jones seems that every single day. Yeah especially the housing issues as we get those who come along here hum more people coming into its housing housing housing is through their priority now. The main problem and that is right now at the through there is housing specific Fresenius we have to support of housing buildings. For various older adults in your buildings are run through this house commissioned. But those have extraordinary weight Lesotho what you're talking for five years in prison and someone and there's no central point for which to access these buildings you have to go to each property sort of there's mobility issues involved were picking a fight to go to a properties downtown. I've put each specific building work on that application so it. Which are trying to get the course the discouraging nature of these long wait lists that I just what kind of deter people from pursuing them. That and that that's that's a crisis that we have had in San Diego deserves to dress and if you want if you play to a building. QB four to five years or if you wanna apply for section eight voucher which is really helpful for. A low income senior or even have family. Which basically allows them to leave the voucher that they can get and market rent units. But they'll pay about 13. Of their their income for the unit. Right now in San Diego County where he must just eleven years the San Diego County commissioners in his eleven. Years to get a voucher. So if you're a senior in your eighty years old then your dialogue you're out of luck or you're waiting for five years to get into. One of these houses away. Building more affordable housing. From you know I think Joseph my degree is. Is the key for most of these these seniors you've got to provide safe secure. Affordable place to live it doesn't take almost every penny that you have to. Rat and and how to somebody. A senior. Sign up for wanna hear housing units. While we have we have this would parliamentary of property downtown part of her family senior residents of fourteen the market needs village neighborhood and we have the city heights also part of the city heights residence in the city heights neighborhood. So person can go directly to the sites to which together and ask for an application. On the Elson come to a loss of two of one of our social workers get assistance with the application. As well. And implementing go to our web site command one of our our facilities and we will we'll get them connected. And we can't help them if we have them we will work to get them into one of the other. The other buildings but. You know for far too many because of these weightless they end up in these Astaro which pan where there's been an 85% of your income. And and these are these these tests arrows are about ninety square feet hundred square feet. Usually shared bathroom. Down the hall big enough maybe for a single bad. We will have a microwave. Sometimes. And most of them to have the property and we'll charge you don't charge like fifteen dollars to rent the microwave with a wedge for everybody if you really want to understand. What poverty means to us. Your listeners are similar to go to target I define my career for fifty bucks sixty bucks. And that's what we would probably all do we need to the microwave. But if you're disposable income as a 150 dollars a month. You don't have fifty dollars to go to market to buy a new microwave but you say OK I'll spend fifteen dollars to print the my way of so at least I can heat up the canned soup or something in me in the evening. But that's to choose wisely get to you why we have a small amount of even though it he made the short term decision even though the long term you know after 34 months you. Theoretically you pay for the microwave if you and how to modify it. I have the money you can't do it. And we really see an example of that sound with disposable income as our illness among progressives is that as we get into the twenties of the of the month we have more more people coming for meals because by that point the modified throughout the money. I wanna talk just a little bit about the Jerry Mary west's senior wellness center they have a new. New thing they announce a dental clinic right yes well actually going to be grand opening on Wednesday and we've been open. We've been soft opening since June and we're starting to see. Keep patients through but Wednesday was our big officials tell the world that we are were open and seeing seeing folks but. Dental is easy huge gap. For seniors most most people who were low income don't get their teeth checked on a regular basis. In the state of California we have got to cal. We just part of medi cal. But most dentist won't take it only one in four dentists in the state will take into cal because it peso portly. And it's it's cumbersome. And an example is you have to facts and information back and forth there's no way to do it on line. In terms of payments and things like that so most dentist will. If there charitable minded they will do things they'll do some services for free for some folks but they won't bother with that account because it cost money so. So people are getting good access to good good oral health care. That's actually something Joseph is is directly. In and. All. So over doing with the the Domingo Gary is taking the west in your dental center. And by embedding it in our seniors and our world we're we're developing a collaboration. The services we normally provide at our center at the housing services social work services. August fall within into an effort into our. Filling in the barriers that might exist for someone parking getting dental services so all we wanted to take care of that individual before they get to dental appointment. So over something that's maybe lacking with with with health access. For housing issues are smaller issue our team led by myself and our social workers. Fill in those gaps part of first appointment so we're preparing a client for you know for the general sword when the army dental chair. We're focused on dental services and and nothing else because we know we were realize we have a great demand that's been the that's built up and we have Bob all one lead and asked who's runs the panel senator. For building the capacity up to the mansion with you on the large demand of individuals coming in the next couple months as we officially opened up now we're going to see things that we found early on is really the disconnect between overall health. And dental health. All of our clients is Paul who two earlier we've we've we've done work that connected people to primary care physicians. We're helped in the best place for help to take place as opposed to emergency room visits are hostile states. Not quite inverted poachers but we have people that. Don't have to see that that has been over a year over two years of for five years for most everybody that we have talked to with thru are in and take process. Has not only has a primary care physician they sniff primary care physician within the last six months. Dental is quite another matter it's two years three years five years in my appealing for a check up earnings Sampras and that meant that at the cal might pay for. The real they'll serve they'll services they need the parcels that ventures its root canals just don't get covered so people go without them who they suffer silently in pain and I'll aren't able to eat and for on some of our seniors it's. Probably now notion people equate with older older adults and and no oral health football looking for employment. I've heard some two years tell me that the other really motivated to help me get Parcells why because they go to a job interview that the presents good skill set a good resonate. But the second they open their mouth they know not forget that job because the condition the most interesting. And that's that's the gap been what they're doing and don't tell will pay and what people need it is true that some people be partial split. Give you an example would and to hell will do than to kill will pay two you have all of your teeth pulled out and pay for a set of dentures. But they won't pay to leave healthy teeth and where you just need a partial. And so. Most of the people we're seeing what they need is partial aggressive healthy tonight in the and they wanna leave. Marshals and that's just one of that the flaws and so what we're trying to do with this with the dental center. He's proved by providing access to good oral health that we're gonna reduce overall health care costs. Because 40% of illnesses started the mouse. From bacterial infections and guns. In new diseased teeth. Like if they're true among a lot of it will start because it'll bacterial infection in your mouth breather then gets into your lungs. So the idea is that by providing a good oral health care we can show paper reducing Medicare costs were reducing that account costs. And therefore government should be looking at provided them dental benefit because most people assume Medicare provides dental it does. Then there's you said Dan medi cal president to Calvin but most dentist won't take it so. If you are low income you are out of lock him in anybody that's ever had a crown or whatever even if you have dental insurance you know when your your co pay can be 7800 bucks. With insurance out and if you don't have insurance. You know can be couple thousand dollars to get that crowd and some people just don't do it and suffer the health consequences as a result. I now we have just a few minutes left and do you wanna definitely talk for the for the last few minutes about. You're hidden hunger campaign. It says something that you do every year around this time is an ongoing can't win it's if it's an ongoing but we really emphasize that here as we start into the holidays for him to October so. Kind of the beginning of the holiday season narrative from from the first ads for for Christmas hurried out. What this is something during the holiday time really try to emphasize and that that goes to the 600000 meals that that we serve and particularly the 500 home. Because the people who get those homebound meal by definition. Are unable to get out of their home either physical for physical or mental reasons. And so their their house founder and many of them live in the Astros that was described in earlier so. The cash hidden people don't know that they are there but they're living on that five dollars a day so we called hidden hungry because. They can't afford to feed themselves. Without our assistance and we can't afford to provide those meals without the generosity. A San Diego it's and so we asked people you know as we kind of entry to the holiday season to make. Make donations and basically for every two dollars and fifty cents we can deliver. A hot nutritious. Breakfast or and or lunch. We deliver both. For the homebound folks and help with the stimulus that we provide and our congress citing and so. This is time when we really appeal to the generosity of let's send chickens and we've been fortunate to people are horror. Have been generous and we hope that the BP's generous again and and no support. They also can you know if they wanna support some of the other things the programs that show was talking how to read the rear of we're security and we are very reliant on. On support from the community in order to you to provide these services that. In Hungary is is kind of my favorite because food is. Is core to do everything that we do to impact on the east he seniors especially home balances is tremendous when it comes to. Campaign like this absolutely and I tell people you know I mean no matter. You know certainly we love Dave if you can if you don't have a whole lot of money can certainly appreciate it but if you can only donate two dollars and fifty cents. For that person who receives that meal that's a big deal that's everything that's everything that's a big deal so. From what you know modest you know two dollars and fifty cents you're impacting somebody's life so we knew we encourage people. In the easiest way to do simply go to our web site serving seniors got to work and as a big donate now and they can click on that end and do it. Or they can and if 1% in the checker wanna come to you know I also encourage people. To come down 1 o'clock at the tigers and our come down to her during her US senior wellness center for a beach. How do you view through you know Joseph or myself for anybody with a view toward kids wanna walk around. And see it is and I'm convinced people come down and see and talk to our clients they don't know that. If we do what we say we're gonna do and would be greatly honored by their financial support. There are other services that you provide. After Gary Mary west's senior wellness center and and as a whole with Serbia seniors you have a nurse on staff to right right race we have two nurses on staff and assist people again the primary function what's the connection with the primary care physicians we also do other. Worked to help people may reconcile medications. I'm get the minnow medical equipment or just coordinate her care going forward don't care coordination is going to be key piece. Of our collaboration with the dental center and helping people you'll connecting people to health resources. And a very vital role is also also with our partnership with mental health. We give a psychiatric nurse who comes on to our site to help people with mental health issues two days a week. Okay and and another program that you have just touched on briefly homeless prevention program you mentioned that earlier as well. Homeless prevention so we we have sixteen units. Where if somebody who's homeless. Comes it comes in or we were very closely with the hot team which is homeless outreach team mentions that sending the police. Department along with a social worker from the county. They encounter homeless seniors they will bring them to us. We run an assessment. And then get them into one of our transitional units and that's been very successful. Program people come in they usually in for nine the hundred days. And then what we do is we get their Social Security coming. We deal with whatever the issues at a cost of homelessness. And then transitioned him into a permanent housing Michael like potter profoundly senior residents one of our facilities. But the idea is to get homeless seniors off the street and homelessness among seniors as one of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population. It has to do that point in time count. And this year there were 800 more seniors homeless seniors on the streets of San Diego than the previous years so. We've seen it. Going in the wrong and wrong direction right but should be facing national demographic time Maria almost 101000 people turning 65 every day and will be over the next decade herself side. To get in the way of numbers I just couldn't disturbing trend. What's the website again serving its us serving seniors got to work you know social media were a social media we have FaceBook me Twitter. So you have to answer anything you do come with us on on social media and you know seal of the stuff that rap tune in again encourage people come down see us in person that you do feel fashioned way and I am convinced she wanted to be part of what we're doing. While great Paula Joseph thanks me and I'll show today Paulo's pleasure seeing how did you get Jerry thank you and Joseph appreciated as well and keep doing what you do and it's serving seniors so much needed services you provide it's appreciated thanks very. That concludes another addition of living better in San Diego the opinions expressed on living veterans San Diego do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the staff and management of the and it comes San Diego radio stations. Episodes of living that are in San Diego are available on the station's website. Jug next week when my guess will be from next steps service dogs until then I'm Carrie Lee have a great week.