County Encourages Seniors to Speak Up

Access to transportation, funding for services and support for caregivers topped the list of concerns voiced by San Diego County seniors at a community meeting sponsored by the Health and Human Services Agency Aging & Independence Services (AIS).Wednesday’s meeting at the George L. Stevens Senior Center was the first in a series of four public outreach hearings being held by AIS, as the agency updated their plans for serving older residents over the next four years. The update is mandated by the federal government’s Older Americans Act and is part of the County’s Live Well, San Diego! initiative.

“Transportation is one of the key elements,” said Maxine Fischer, a representative of AARP and a member of the AIS Advisory Board. “If people can’t get out into their community, it leads to depression and isolation.”

More than 50 seniors attended the hearing and heard a presentation about the 30-plus programs AIS offers area seniors and the AIS budget before giving their input into what ideas they had for senior services.

“We continually seek ideas and feedback about AIS programs and services from our clients and people in the community, so the public hearings for the 4-year Area Plan usually bring no surprises,” says Pam Smith, Director of AIS. “But these hearings are focused opportunities for people to not only express themselves, but to hear from others what concerns them.

“We encourage residents of all ages to speak up about what service gaps there might be, or even to say what they like about the services that are being provided.”

Three more public hearings are scheduled. The dates and locations are:
Thurs., Feb. 16 – 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Poway Senior Center, 13094 Civic Center Dr., Poway 92064. Lunch available; suggested donation $4 (age 60+); no reservations necessary.
Wed. ,Feb. 29 – 12:30 to 2 p.m., Kimball Senior Center: 1221 D Ave., National City, CA 91950.
Wed., March 7 – 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Salvation Army Nutrition Center, 1011 E. Main St., El Cajon 92021. Lunch served at 11:30 for a suggested donation of $4 (age 60+).

If you cannot attend a hearing, written testimony will be accepted until March 15. For more information or to send comments, contact Sarah (Sally) Jackson, AIS, P.O. Box 23217, San Diego, CA 92193 or by email: sarah.jackson@sdcounty.ca.gov. You may also leave comments via voice mail by calling (858) 495-5525 (please limit comments to 2 minutes).

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact