Categorized | Technology

Oakland secures funding to extend senior programs

OAKLAND — As the budgeting process for the next two years gets underway at City Hall, the City Council is fielding requests to ensure that services for seniors do not fall between the cracks.

More than 20 percent of Oakland residents 65 or older live alone, and more than 30 percent of those 50 or older live below the poverty level, according to a staff report.

At its meeting Tuesday, the council’s life enrichment committee endorsed four programs to continue providing seniors in-home care and support.

“We need to do this, of course. It’s very important,” council member Dan Kalb said afterward.

“We have a lot of seniors of modest means who need these services. A lot of people can take care of themselves and that’s great, but we have a certain responsibility to help those who have given so much to their families and to society,” he said.

“Older Americans in Oakland deserve our respect and we need to step up and assist them when that assistance is necessary,” Kalb said.

Federal, state and county grants for the programs cover most of the cost, $1,818,326. The city has to pay $331,977 in overhead expenses for supervising the projects, which the grants do not cover. That money was included in the preliminary budget Mayor Libby Schaaf presented to the City Council earlier this month.

“The great thing is, we’re getting these grants to continue to step up the work we’ve been doing. The percentage of our residents who are over the age of 62, 65, that’s just going to go up. We need to make sure we have things in place to help people who need help,” Kalb said.

The largest program, the Multipurpose Senior Services Program, uses $1.4 million of state Department of Aging money to ensure uninterrupted in-home care to 287 frail and low-income Oakland residents whose ages average 88.5 years, to remain safe and independent in their own homes.

Eighty-seven percent of these seniors are ethnic or racial minorities. A lack of knowledge of the healthcare system and inability to coordinate their own care makes them particularly likely to need hospital emergency room or nursing home care, according to a Department of Human Services report.

The Multipurpose Senior Services Program funds in-home care, sometimes provided by family members, along with medical equipment such as lifts, and medical alert devices provided at their homes, and case management coordination. At an annual cost of $4,285 per client, it has provided a great value over almost 40 years, the report said. The average nursing home expense is $83,364 a year.

Clients are referred by hospital discharge planners, public health nurses, county Adult Protective Services nurses and social workers, community outreach and word-of-mouth.

In the most recent quarter, there were 39 people on its waiting list. Streamlining efforts last year reduced time spent on the list by 90 percent on average, staff said.

The city is being asked to spend $272,695 to administer the program this year.

Also renewed for the next fiscal year were two federal grants: $287,126 to fund a Senior Companion Program and $29,484 for a Foster Grandparent Program. Combined, the city will spend $31,646 to administer them.

These grants, through the Corporation for National and Community Services, pay for 65 senior companions and eight foster grandparents, all themselves 55 or older, to help 300 other seniors and work with 100 at-risk youngsters.

Those taking part must be trained and screened and, if they are to receive stipends for their work, be certified as low-income.

The smallest of three requests before the Life Enrichment Committee was to accept $48,118 a year for two years from the county for an Information and Assistance Program that operates through the city’s senior centers.

In place for two decades, the program, staffed by two part-time workers versed in housing, health care options, transportation, utility discounts, nutrition and other services, provides information to more than 1,500 seniors annually at the North Oakland and East Oakland senior centers.

The city will need to spend $27,636 to administer the program through the next two years.

The Human Services Department also requested $2,246,666 for paratransit programs funded by Measure B in 2014 and 2004’s Measure BB.

Contact Mark Hedin at 510-293-2452, 408-759-2132 or


Article source:

Comments are closed.

Call Now: 877-642-5321 ` ` . .