In the next ten years, the number of seniors living in Alameda County will increase by 60 percent. Of all the states in the nation, California has the largest projected growth of older Adults. Understanding challenges facing the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) within California can help other local governments and community planners find solutions. Every four years, counties are required to submit plans to the California Department on Aging regarding age preparation status, programs, and strategies. Other states have similar requirements for preparing long-range plans.
According to Economic Index standards, 50 percent of all seniors in Alameda County do not have adequate financial resources. The county has a high number of ethnic minorities (56 percent). In short, the county’s senior population is highly diverse, growing older and growing poorer. There are “nearly 400 separate agencies, both public and private, providing health and social services for seniors” (page 19). This impacts affordable services and programs, as well as coordination decisions among organizations.
Other plan highlights include:
- Rising poverty is impacting the needs seniors express through AAA surveys. In 2005, top needs were “Transportation, Health Care, and Caring for Minor Children or Adults” but by 2011, those concerns were “Money to Live on, Crime, Employment, Health Care and Receiving Services” (page 24). The most critical unmet need was for “Adult Day Care and Adult Day Health” (page 29). Respondents were grateful for home-delivered meals and other services that meet the needs of a poor, older community.
- Senior community centers are increasing in their importance to seniors and as a delivery method to meet senior needs. These will continue to be a focal point for age planning. Though Alameda County has one of the most modern transportation systems in the U.S., transportation options for seniors remain a high concern. The plan reflects new initiatives to explore how to best meet those needs. Strategic goals also reflect a renewed emphasis on information sharing (particularly in coordinating with other services/agencies) and health initiatives (home to hospital care, long-term care, etc.).
How to Use
Economics often dictate age planning initiatives and programs. Community planners struggling with increasing poverty among their senior population can use the Alameda County Area Agency on Aging Plan to gain an understanding of how one county is addressing the challenges many counties are facing. Alameda’s strategic goals and objectives provide insight for community planners and local officials seeking ways accommodate the needs of their growing older adult population.
View full report: Alameda County Area Agency on Aging Plan – 2012-2016 (PDF – 509 KB)