Aging

For Seniors of Color, Improving Access to Vaccine Is Key

Since people of color are contracting coronavirus at disproportionately high rates, experts say it’s crucial for them to get inoculated to stop the spread. That’s especially the case for seniors of color, a group that’s even more vulnerable to developing serious complications from COVID-19 infections.

Offering vaccines in a variety of settings, enlisting trusted community groups to conduct outreach, and launching culturally-relevant public education campaigns can boost vaccine rates.

Closeup of a young man holding the hand of an old woman with affection.

How California Can Fix Its Hospice System and Reduce Care Inequities

When done right, hospice care can provide immense comfort to terminally ill patients and their families. But fraud, malpractice, unchecked growth, and lack of effective oversight from the state and federal authorities threaten the wellbeing of California’s hospice patients.

Seniors from all walks of life fall victim to these fraudulent practices, but those with limited English proficiency are especially vulnerable.

Here are a few solutions.

As California Stays Home Again, Volunteers Reach Out to Isolated Seniors

The holiday season is further adding to social isolation and feelings of loneliness many seniors have experienced during COVID-19. Many won’t be able to celebrate the holidays with loved ones and some have lost spouses or other family members to the virus.

The Social Bridging Project and other organizations that serve the elderly are ramping up efforts to reach vulnerable seniors living alone. Solutions include meal deliveries, phone check-ins and crisis hotlines.

Two seniors wearing masks sit on a bench near Venice beach in mid-April.

For Seniors, Another COVID-19 Hazard: Scammers

Advocates who work with seniors are bracing for a new wave of scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Already, California Senior Medicare Patrol, which helps Medicare beneficiaries avoid fraud, has received reports of several new scams. Fraudsters have visited residents in senior housing offering them “opportunities” for COVID-19 testing in exchange for their Medicare number. Con artists posing as Medicare officials have called seniors and promised them a (non-existent) COVID-19 vaccine.

At High Risk From Coronavirus, Undocumented Seniors Fear Seeking Medical Care

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, public health experts are calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to fulfill a budget proposal that would expand Medi-Cal eligibility to undocumented seniors.

They argue that having thousands of uninsured elderly residents in the state puts these seniors and the broader public at risk. Many see it as a step toward a broader goal: extending coverage to all low-income, undocumented adults.

Audit Slams State Oversight of Nursing Facilities

California’s skilled nursing facilities are increasingly putting their residents’ health in jeopardy, yet the state is failing to adequately crack down on the problem, according to a report released Tuesday.

Citations for substandard care at skilled nursing facilities statewide increased by almost a third between 2006 and 2015, according to the report from the California State Auditor. Over the same period, profits for the state’s three biggest private operators of nursing homes soared by tens of millions of dollars, even as the number of nursing facility beds barely changed.

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