By California Black Media
Over 300 seniors rallied at the state Capitol last Thursday to support efforts to streamline the way the state deals with policy and budget allocations for senior citizens in the state.
In 2015, the Senate Select Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care issued a report calling for the creation of a Senate Standing Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care as one means of bringing more order to the state’s fragmented policy system on senior issues.
The report found that there were 112 aging programs administered by 20 different state agencies, departments and offices.
According to senior advocates one in five Californians will be over the age 65 by 2030, and the aging population is increasingly diverse with people age 85 and older who constitute the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. One in six seniors live in poverty with 34 percent of them Black women who live alone.
Legislative leaders spoke at the rally to share bills that have been introduced into the legislature to try and correct the budget decline in senior-related programs since the 2008 recession.
“Of the senior citizens that live in poverty today two-thirds of them are women, so I find that morally repugnant and disgraceful,” said Senate pro Tempore, Kevin de Leon.
The Senior Coalition estimates 70 percent of people 65 years old and older will need some type of long-term care supports services.
“We as seniors need healthcare, our meds are an enormous cost, and people cannot afford food and are cutting their pills in half or going without,” said Brenda Bristow, of I HELP I.E.
“84-year old San Bernardino resident Norma Archie said, “I am fed up with government leadership and disturbed that government will take 30 million in taxpayer dollars and spend it on attorney fees for non-citizens, while seniors are going without food, their medicine and housing, I am insulted with our leaders.”
Some Bills Up For Consideration:
SB62 (Jackson) Establishes the Affordable Senior Housing Program.
SB177 (Nguyen) Appropriates $3,300,000 from General Fund to the State Department of Health Care Services for allocation to Caregiver Resource Centers to provide respite care services.
SB202 (Dodd) Increases the Medi-Cal monthly personal needs allowance from $35 to 80 while a person is a patient in a medical institution.
AB806 (Kalra) Creates a tax credit for certain expenses incurred by a family caregiver for the care and support of a family member not to exceed $1,000.