County survey asks older Fil-Ams to name their top unmet needs
SAN MATEO, California – Do you or people you know or care about live in California and were born in 1968 or earlier? If so, you are the best source of help for authorities to invest tax dollars in the top unmet needs of people who are 55 years old or better.
Do you know what those needs are? You’d have some ideas, yes, if you are among kind folks who work or volunteer at agencies that provide resources for older adults. And pardon the redundancy — most definitely — if you’ve actually been caring for a loved one. Or if you have actually lived 5 plus 50 years and longer — that’s all caps-bold-underscore YES!
Oh yeah, you might not show it, because how does 55+ look anyway? But: You’ve begun feeling a persistent unidentified ache, some pearlies are loose, vision is dimming, so you don’t trust yourself to drive at night or long distances.
Worse: You’re exhausted and want to retire but don’t want to lose your health coverage to go on Medicare that you hear is a challenge to navigate and barely covers oral health. Plus you’re worried about your lack of tech skills, so you remain at your dead-end job.
Worst: You refuse to answer calls on your landline (you know you’ve kept that last-century relic) because you’ve already been phished twice. Now you missed the calls, among significant advisory – to expect the new 4-page Got Wheels! registration form, losing your benefit of $5 one-way rides to see your doctor, meet friends, go shopping and feel alive!
Aging is a blessing. But it does take work and requires attention.
Think about it: Each county is allocated millions for distribution to providers for particular services. But not until the needs for said services are identified. And that is done with public participation. That means you – we, all of us post-post-post-Millennial.
For residents of San Mateo County, home to one of the largest Filipino and Asian populations per capita in the state, Area Agency on Aging #8 is seeking responses from residents in their golden years and beyond to what’s called a Comprehensive Assessment Survey for Older Adults or CASOA, note the government love of acronyms.
“The goal of the assessment is to gather direct feedback from the local older adult population to better understand the contributions they make to their communities and to identify any challenges and unmet needs,” Cristina Ugaitafa of the County Aging & Adult Services said as she reached out for assistance in North County in general and Filipino Americans in particular.
In 2020, the following emerged from the survey as the top 10 unmet needs of the County’s older adults:
- Remaining at home
- Dental needs
- Accidents at home (falls)
- Learning about services/benefits for older adults
- Disaster preparedness
- Dependence on others
- Accessing and enrolling for beneits/services
- Understanding Medicare
- Finding friends/social activities
- Financial security/Money to live on
Looking back, were those your priorities? Remember, the pandemic was just about to blindside the planet at the time. You could have weighed in but didn’t, so now’s your chance to be heard.
Initial feedback has been gathered over the past two weeks from a randomly selected sample of San Mateo County residents, said the analyst who also facilitates the monthly meetings of County contractors or providers called the New Beginnings Coalition.
Starting this week, however, the aim is to encourage age 55+ residents to give input by completing the Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults or CASOA online. The survey will close August 28.
“Participants’ responses are anonymous, and personal data or identifying information are never shared. Community members with questions about the survey may call 916-970-9948,” Ugaitafa assured.
Partnering with the California Department of Aging on the survey is Polco (www.polco.us), described as an “innovative civic engagement platform that gives community members the opportunity to provide input directly to local leaders.”
“Developed by the National Research Center at Polco, the CASOA instrument has been administered in many other jurisdictions around the country. Data returned from this survey of local residents will be benchmarked against other communities nationwide,” went the County advisory.
San Mateo County results will be unveiled at the end of October 2023. Residents will have opportunity sound off and comments will be “incorporated into the work plans of government, foundations, AAAs, nonprofits serving the aging population, and other organizations,” per the advisory.
We can sit around and complain about getting older and leave it to the government to decide what we need, or we can use our voices and speak up as citizens and taxpayers. If not for grand agers then definitely for ourselves.