By Elliot Margolies, Strategic Initiatives
On January 23rd, Midpen Media co-sponsored a town meeting to gather input for the California Master Plan on Aging that will be written in October. Over 80 participants came to the Avenidas Rose Kleiner Center in Mountain View to hear updates from three of the master plan writers and to provide their own ideas for what it should include. Director of California’s Department of Aging Kim McCoy Wade, Maya Altman, CEO of Health Plan of San Mateo, and Susan DeMarois, Policy Director for the Alzheimer’s Association Northern California Chapter spoke on the panel. The speakers were welcomed by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and myself, serving as facilitator and MC.
California’s senior population is growing faster than any other age group. A master plan to address this population group was part of Gavin Newsom’s election platform and the process was initiated last June. The focus of the town meeting was on services for seniors that are not covered by Medicare and whose costs are frequently shouldered by family caregivers.
Some attendees spoke about how care for their loved one decimated their savings. Services they paid for include adult daycare activity centers, home-delivered meals, and help with daily activities like showering, toileting, and even getting in and out of bed. These services and tasks are quite familiar to those who care for seniors with dementia or disabilities. Caregivers would like to see state funds help cover the cost of in-home assistance. Virtually everyone at the gathering raised their hands to say they’d eagerly accept a one or two cents per dollar payroll tax to cover new levels of service.
Afterward, Ms. McCoy Wade wrote, “It was my absolute honor to hear all the stories, pain, solutions, and hope–we need it all to get the Master Plan for Aging right and then to drive real change.”
Additional event sponsors of the town meeting were the Alzheimer’s Association, Avenidas, Peninsula Volunteers and Health Plan of San Mateo.
The video recording of the 90-minute meeting will be on Midpen Media’s Youtube channel on February 3rd. Anyone who wants to leave input for the Master Plan on Aging can do so in writing at www.engageca.org.