Our California Department on Aging (CDA) took this COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to revamp and expand their services and further align their priorities with those Governor Newsom outlined for the State’s Master Plan for Aging. Their digital document, Aging Matters: CDA’s Rapid Response to COVID-19 outlines five main areas of action:
- Redesigning and Expanding Services. One of the many areas of redesigned and expanded services includes nutrition and food services. For example, the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) have more than quadrupled their meal services from 5 meals a week, to 21. Also, Governor Newsom recently announced the first-in-the-nation partnership with FEMA to support local restaurants and deliver meals to older adults staying. This is under the leadership of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, California Health and Human Services Agency, and CDA. Another area is protecting the rights of residents in nursing homes by providing: check-in calls with residents from volunteers with the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, more support for families and friends, and information, assistance and complain response through the Ombudsman Crisis line (1-800-231-4024).
- EngAGEing the Public around Age. One example of this is supporting the Governor’s Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In. campaign. Within the first month, over 1.7 million check-in calls were reported. The campaign’s webpage offers a “check- in list” in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Hmong. Resources for information and assistance, staying connected, and friends & family caregiving can also be found on EngageCA.org.
- Leading the Governor’s Master Plan for Aging. See document for details.
- Modernizing CDA. See document for details.
- Let’s Stay Connected. Physical distancing equals social solidarity, and CDA encourages us all to stay connected. One of the many ways to do this include the Friendship Line California (1-888-670-1360). This is a 24/7 accredited crisis and warm line for adults 60 years and older and individuals with disabilities run by the Institute on Aging. Friendship Line counselors assist individuals, families, and caregivers with issues of loneliness, depression, and isolation. See our article for more information: Let’s Stay Connected ~ A Pledge to Care for Each Other, Friendship Line & Resources to Stay Well.
We also highlight the essential work of our partners with the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP). A program under the CDA, HICAP provides free, individual and unbiased assistance on Medicare and other health insurance related issues, including Medi-Cal, low-income help programs, long-term care, supplemental insurance and more. Now all their services are available via phone or online applications. For assistance, contact your local HICAP at 1-800-434-0222, or find them online.