Older Driver Safety and Mobility

February 29, 2016 |

California Highway Patrol’s “Age Well Drive Smart Program” for Older Drivers

CHP-logo-jpgIt’s the California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) mission to provide the highest level of safety, service, and security to the people of California. To that end, addressing older driver safety and mobility is a high priority for the CHP. Within the past six years the Department has placed emphasis on helping California’s older drivers. The CHP now has a series of programs and efforts to address older driver safety and mobility.

To see a list of the CHP programs and efforts, click here.

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Information Session: Learn about Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Friday February 19, 2016 | 10:00 – 11:00 am | FREE Admission

Marin Health and Human Services
20 North San Pedro Road
San Rafael CA 94903

Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) is a program that provides stipends to low-income people who are either 65+, blind, or disabled. In Marin, there are 3,700 people living on SSI/SSP and 1,300 of our county’s recipients who receive the stipend are above the age of 65.

Did you know that $889 is the maximum monthly benefit for an individual living on SSI/SSP? That’s below the Federal Poverty Level, and less than half of what an average 1BR apartment costs in Marin.



Join us in learning about the current state of the SSI/SSP program, and how we can come together to advocate for change. We will be talking about how the Aging Action Initiative (AAI) can come together and support CA4SSI’s efforts to increase benefits for some of our most vulnerable Marin County residents. We will have two presenters from the statewide Californians for SSI coalition:

  • Colleen Rivecca, Advocacy Program Lead, St. Anthony’s Foundation
  • Shanti Prasad, Community Mobilization Coordinator, Alameda County Community Food Bank
This is a FREE event open to anyone interested in advocating for an increase in SSI/SSP benefits. Please RSVP to Becky Gershon at bgershon@sfmfoodbank.org.


About Aging Action Initiative

The purpose of the Aging Action Initiative is to promote a county-wide age-friendly environment, especially for those in need, collectively created by a strong network of aging service providers through public education, policy advocacy, and service coordination. The initiative is a collective effort of over 65 different agencies, grassroots organizations, commissions and neighborhood groups, funded by the County of Marin, and coordinated by MarinSpace.


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Aging2.0 AgeTech Expo

Registration is now open

Aging2.0’s AgeTech Expo to be held November 19-20, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco.

The Aging2.0 AgeTech Expo brings together aging services providers and tech companies for cross-sector innovation insights and collaboration opportunities.

The 2-day conference and technology exposition features innovation tours and workshops, inspiring keynotes, practical education panels, technology exhibits and the live “Pitch-for-Pilots (P4P)” session.

It’s cutting edge content, networking and partnership opportunities make this a high-value event for senior care executive leadership including CEOs, CIOs, COOs and key staff across several disciplines including wellness, nursing and assisted living directors, care managers and coordinators, IT staff and others as well as advisors, consultants, academics, technology organizations and other innovators in senior care.

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The Hidden Poor: Our Older Adults

1 in 5 older adults have incomes above the federal poverty level, but still struggle to pay their expenses

Nearly 1 in 5 adults over 65 in California — more than three-quarters of a million people — live in an economic no-man’s land, unable to afford basic needs but often ineligible for government assistance, according to a new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

The study, funded by the California Wellness Foundation, highlights the plight of the “hidden poor” — those who live in the gap between the federal poverty level and the Elder Index’s poverty measure, which is considered a more accurate cost estimate of what it takes to have a decent standard of living. The Elder Index accounts for geographic differences in costs for housing, medical care, food and transportation. The national federal poverty level guidelines say a single elderly adult living alone should be able to live on $10,890 a year, while the Elder Index estimates that person in California on average requires $23,364.

“Many of our older adults are forced to choose between eating, taking their medications or paying rent,” said D. Imelda Padilla-Frausto, a UCLA graduate student researcher at the center and lead author of the study. “The state might be emerging from a recession, but for many of our elder households, the downturn seems permanent.”

According to the study, about 772,000 elderly adults in California who are heads of households belong to this group of hidden poor, which is more than double the number of elderly (342,000) who meet federal poverty level guidelines. Unlike the “official” poor, the hidden poor often do not qualify for public assistance.

The study, which used American Community Survey data from 2009 to 2011 and the 2011 Elder Index data, showed that in terms of sheer numbers, whites make up more than half of elders in the financially pinched group (482,000). Proportionately, grandparents raising grandchildren, older adults who rent, Latinos, women, and the oldest age group (75 and over) were the groups most affected.

The invisible poor are throughout California

Geographically, the researchers found that in all counties, between 30 and 40 percent of elderly adults who are single and 20 to 30 percent of older couples are among the hidden poor.

The county groups with the highest proportion (40 percent or more) of hidden poor among households headed by single elders are rural: Nevada/Plumas/Sierra,Mendocino/Lake and Colusa/Glenn/Tehama/Trinity. Counties with smaller populations were pooled to create larger samples. Among households headed by couples, Imperial County is the only county with more than 40 percent hidden poor. Among older couples, Imperial County had a significantly higher rate than any other county — 43.4 percent of older couples did not have enough income to make ends meet, according to the study. According to the federal poverty level guidelines, only 11.9 percent of older couples in the county were “poor.”

County-by-county chart of poor and hidden poor.

Groups with large proportions and populations of hidden poor:

  • Grandparents raising grandchildren. Although a small subset of elder households, grandparents raising grandchildren are a particularly vulnerable group as neither the grandparents nor child is able to generate additional income to cover basic living expenses. Of the 16,000 households in California in which grandparents have primary responsibility for their grandchildren, more than half (9,000) have incomes below what the Elder Index defines as adequate for basic living. And more than half of those (5,000) are among the hidden poor.
  • Older adults housing adult children. Older couples whose adult children live with them were six times more likely to qualify as being among the hidden poor, according to the Elder Index, than those considered poor according to the federal poverty level (25.7 percent vs. 4.1 percent, respectively).  Similarly, single elders housing adult children were four times more likely to qualify as among the hidden poor by the Elder Index than those considered poor according to the federal poverty level guidelines (35.7 percent vs. 9 percent, respectively).

“Older adults raising grandchildren or housing adult children have taken on more financial burdens with limited earning capacity and are living right on the edge of a cliff,” said Steven Wallace, associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and co-author of the report. “They have few options, and one unexpected expense can put them right over.”

  • Single women who head households. Nearly 466,000 have incomes below the Elder Index, and more than half of those (286,000) are among the hidden poor.
  • Single elders head of households, age 75 and older. Of the 359,000 households with incomes below the Elder Index, almost two-thirds (224,000) are among the hidden poor and unable to cover basic living expenses.
  • Single elders who are renters or homeowners. Housing is one of the biggest drivers of economic insecurity, particularly for single elders. Almost 70 percent of single older renters have incomes below the Elder Index and more than half of those are among the hidden poor. Among single older homeowners paying a mortgage, nearly half (49.7 percent) have incomes below the Elder Index, and, among this group, 4 out of 5 struggle to make ends meet.

In comparing race and ethnicity, among the older population of African-Americans in California, couples who head households were five times more likely to be among the Elder Index hidden poor than to qualify as poor, according to the federal poverty level (21.2 percent vs. 4.2 percent, respectively). Similarly, older white couples were five times more likely to be among the hidden poor than among the poor (16.3 percent vs. 3.8 percent, respectively.) The highest proportion of hidden poor among single elders who head households was found among African-Americans and Latinos (37.4 percent and 36.8 percent, respectively).

► Hidden poor by gender, race, age and federal poverty level and other categories.

The authors have recommended ways to address the needs of those living in the gap between the federal poverty level and the Elder Index, including: increasing and protecting income as is proposed in Assembly Bill 474 and the Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act; raising income eligibility limits for housing assistance and using former redevelopment funds for construction of affordable housing; helping seniors with the cost of health care by raising income eligibility to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, from 100 percent; and expanding and updating food benefits.

“It’s very clear that income level is a major predictor of health outcomes — at any age. This research underscores that elders’ economic security is a health equity issue,” said Judy Belk, president and CEO of the California Wellness Foundation.

The Elder Index for California was developed by Wider Opportunities for Women and is led by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

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Forever young: Meditation might slow the age-related loss of gray matter in the brain, say UCLA researchers

August 10, 2015 | Since 1970, life expectancy around the world has risen dramatically, with people living more than 10 years longer. That’s the good news. The bad news is that starting when people are in their mid-to-late-20s, the brain begins to wither — its volume and weight begin to decrease. As this occurs, the brain can begin to lose some of its functional abilities.

So although people might be living longer, the years they gain often come with increased risks for mental illness and neuro-degenerative disease. Fortunately, a new study shows meditation could be one way to minimize those risks.

Building on their earlier work that suggested people who meditate have less age-related atrophy in the brain’s white matter, a new study by UCLA researchers found that meditation appeared to help preserve the brain’s gray matter, the tissue that contains neurons.

The scientists looked specifically at the association between age and gray matter. They compared 50 people who had mediated for years and 50 who didn’t. People in both groups showed a loss of gray matter as they aged. But the researchers found among those who meditated, the volume of gray matter did not decline as much as it did among those who didn’t.

The article appears in the current online edition of the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Dr. Florian Kurth, a co-author of the study and postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Brain Mapping Center, said the researchers were surprised by the magnitude of the difference.

“We expected rather small and distinct effects located in some of the regions that had previously been associated with meditating,” he said. “Instead, what we actually observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain.”

As baby boomers have aged and the elderly population has grown, the incidence of cognitive decline and dementia has increased substantially as the brain ages.

“In that light, it seems essential that longer life expectancies do not come at the cost of a reduced quality of life,” said Dr. Eileen Luders, first author and assistant professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “While much research has focused on identifying factors that increase the risk of mental illness and neurodegenerative decline, relatively less attention has been turned to approaches aimed at enhancing cerebral health.”

Each group in the study was made up of 28 men and 22 women ranging in age from 24 to 77. Those who meditated had been doing so for four to 46 years, with an average of 20 years.

The participants’ brains were scanned using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging. Although the researchers found a negative correlation between gray matter and age in both groups of people — suggesting a loss of brain tissue with increasing age — they also found that large parts of the gray matter in the brains of those who meditated seemed to be better preserved, Kurth said.

The researchers cautioned that they cannot draw a direct, causal connection between meditation and preserving gray matter in the brain. Too many other factors may come into play, including lifestyle choices, personality traits, and genetic brain differences.

“Still, our results are promising,” Luders said. “Hopefully they will stimulate other studies exploring the potential of meditation to better preserve our aging brains and minds. Accumulating scientific evidence that meditation has brain-altering capabilities might ultimately allow for an effective translation from research to practice, not only in the framework of healthy aging but also pathological aging.”

The research was supported by the Brain Mapping Medical Research Organization, the Robson Family and Northstar Fund, the Brain Mapping Support Foundation, the Pierson‐Lovelace Foundation, the Ahmanson Foundation, the Tamkin Foundation, the William M. and Linda R. Dietel Philanthropic Fund at the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation, the Jennifer Jones‐Simon Foundation, the Capital Group Companies Foundation and an Australian Research Council fellowship (120100227). Nicolas Cherbuin of the Australian National University was also an author of the study.

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