Candidates should focus on older Californians

Posted by Kassy Perry

By Joseph Cobery
Chico Enterprise-Record
October 30, 2018

Older adults living in Northern California face amplified challenges as those living in more urban regions of California. Transportation challenges and a shortage of providers have plagued rural Californians for decades, yet the state has done virtually nothing in response, even though its aging population will nearly double by 2030. Already, the percentage of older adults living in rural Northern California exceeds 20 percent of the population.

Passages Adult Resource Center in Chico attempts to close this disparity by providing supportive services and community resources to older adults and caregivers in 10 Northern California counties. Through our work, we are reminded every day how difficult it is to successfully age in place while living in rural California.

The individuals we assist often have to choose between paying for transportation and paying for rent or food. We support older adults because they provide wisdom and experience to our communities and lead productive roles through education, training, employment, volunteering and caregiving.

I commend We Stand With Seniors … Will You? for explaining to statewide candidates why California desperately needs to prioritize older adults and develop a master plan for aging. The state’s budget is not growing as fast as the senior population and we are already underwater in terms of workforce supply, affordable housing, access to transportation and more.

Without a comprehensive master plan to account for population changes and their associated costs, and without proper policies for the integration of social workers and gerontologists into this plan, California’s senior care crisis will only get worse.