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Elk Grove Citizen

How Sac County Meets the Needs of Older Adults

Jan 03, 2024 04:49PM ● By Susan Meeker, photos by Susan Meeker

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - California launched the Master Plan for Aging in 2021 to create a California for All Ages by 2030.

“We are all aging, whether we're 10, 20, 30, 40, or 70, 80, 90, or 100,” says Heidi Richardson, program planner with the Sacramento County Department of Child, Family & Adult Services. The benefits of supporting older residents are the same as supporting all residents: a community where residents from birth to older ages can thrive, enjoy life, help others, and reach out for help when in need. “We think of older people as needing care and help—and some do—but we all do at points in our life. We want a society where people are able to say, 'I need help.”

Sacramento’s growing aging population

According to the California Department of Aging, the population of Sacramento County residents over age 60 will increase 187% from 2010 to 2060. Conversely, the population of younger residents is decreasing.

“What's going to happen in Sacramento County, in probably 2026, is the older adult population will exceed the youth population. That will be the first time in history that that's ever happened," says Pam Miller, executive director of the Agency on Aging Area 4. “There's a whole lot of things out there that are happening for the first time that older adults are experiencing. I think the increase in housing costs, the increase in food costs, and your income probably going down because you're older, it's like the perfect storm for folks to need a lot of services."

Agency on Aging Area 4 services cover Sacramento, Nevada, Placer, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Agency on Aging, Area 4 supports older residents by connecting them with programs that can help with housing, food insecurity, caregiver resources, legal services, health care and more. Locally, housing, food insecurity and transportation are top issues, says Miller.

Planning to meet future needs

In February 2021, Sacramento County joined AARP's Age-Friendly Network of States and Communities. Created by the World Health Organization and implemented by AARP, age-friendly communities identify eight domains that make communities more livable. Those domains include accessible and affordable housing and health care, transportation options, green spaces, as well as opportunities for social and civic participation. Age-friendly communities “help older people thrive and experience connection and joy in their life," Richardson says. “Our goal for older adults—and everyone—is to thrive as residents of Sacramento County." In 2023, Sacramento received a grant from the California Department of Aging to develop an Action Plan, the next stage of becoming an age-friendly community.

Aging and Disability Resource Connection

While Sacramento is working towards an age-friendly future, there are many current resources, programs and supports available. The Aging and Disability Resource Connection helps older adults and people with disabilities stay in the community by providing resources through information and assistance, person-centered case management and other important services. The goal is to keep people out of long-term care. Multiple community agencies and government programs are part of the Aging and Disability Resource Connection and work together to help older adults and people living with disability connect to services that are right for them.

General Resources for Older Adults

Senior Resource Guide - Phone: 2-1-1 or 1-844-546-14642; Agency on Aging Area 4 - Phone: 916-486-1876; Aging and Disability Resource Connection - Phone: 1-800-211-4545; ACC Senior Services (includes Meals on Wheels) - Phone: 916-394-6399; Sacramento County Department of Child, Family and Adult Services - Adult Protective Services (APS) Phone: 916-874-9377; In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS): Phone: 916-874-9471; Resources for Independent Living - Phone: 916-446-3074.