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Forum Focuses on Strategies for Struggling Elders

Posted: Apr 02, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO--The struggles of ethnic elders in the Bay Area with job loss, rampant foreclosures, health care and poverty was the focus of a media briefing held this week by New America Media.

For an estimated 330,000 low-income ethnic elders aged 65 or older in the Bay Area, their difficulties are compounded by a lack of access to available services because of language barriers.

Roxanne Murray of the San Francisco Family Services Agency told about her agencies work with the OneAway campaign, which helps promote economic security for elders, because so many are one illness, foreclosure or other problem away from poverty.

Murray said that over 13 million seniors across the U.S. depend on services like job training, food donations and help from senior centers, funded through the Older Americans Act. Murray also suggested that community members join the OneAway campaign by sending messages to Congress.

Because of state budget cuts, California services like In-Home Supportive Services and adult day health care programs under Medi-Cal are being eliminated or reduced, according to Anna Rich, staff attorney at the National Senior Citizens Law Center. Such cuts hit particularly hard for low-income Asian elders, who depend on agencies like SF Family Services Agency and Family Bridges, which operates programs for Asian elders in the East Bay.

The highlight of the briefing came from one Richmond High School student, Maegel Johnson, Jr., who spoke about how he ended up living with his grandmother, from whom he learned invaluable life lessons and wisdom.

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