Every day, older Americans – a quickly growing population – help make Alameda County a vibrant place to live. They are working, volunteering, mentoring, learning, and leading. Every day, older adults share their wisdom and experience with future generations, and give back to enrich their communities.
However, it’s not easy to be an older adult in the Bay Area. The intense rise in cost-of-living is an enormous, ongoing challenge for the many older adults who live on a fixed or limited income. According to the Alameda County Commission on Aging, one in four older adults earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line – about $23,000 per year for a one-person household, which means they are likely struggling to make ends meet. And, the National Council for Aging Care says nearly one in six faces the threat of hunger.
Luckily, our community has a passionate network of senior support services, and a vibrant community of older adults who organize for themselves. To celebrate Older Americans Month, below are just a few local resources that support health, well-being, and security so older adults can continue to enjoy life as a critical thread in the fabric of our communities.
The Food Bank’s helpline connects callers with a hot meal or bag of groceries, often on the same day they call. We work with a large array of partner agencies in all corners of the county, many of which specialize in meeting the specific needs of seniors.
The motto “seniors helping seniors” is at the heart of Mercy Brown Bag, one of ACCFB’s partner agencies. Volunteers sort, pack, and distribute groceries to 17 sites including senior centers and houses of worship. Along with nutritious food, the program provides a place for seniors to contribute to their community, stay physically active, and socialize.
AARP’s Create the Good connects older adults with volunteer opportunities where they can share their life skills, passions, and talents with their communities. The site also includes step-by-step guides with all the information about how to lead a successful volunteer project. (Of course, anyone ages 10 and up are welcome to volunteer at ACCFB!)
The United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County is a grassroots, multi-ethnic, intergenerational nonprofit organization focused on issues of concern to Alameda County seniors and their allies. With more than 5,000 individual members, USOAC hosts listening sessions, walking clubs, conventions, a healthy living festival, and much more.
From education opportunities to home visiting programs, tax assistance to transportation services, Alameda County Social Services’ Senior Resource Guides provide a comprehensive overview of local services and programs. The guides also include culturally specific programs for seniors.
LAS provides free legal services to seniors throughout Alameda County, including free legal advice and information, representation in court and administrative hearings, referrals to other community resources, and community education and training on legal issues.
St. Mary’s Center runs a broad range of programs for older adults, including a winter shelter, supportive housing sites, recovery programs, advocacy programs, and much more. St. Mary’s community center is also a site for year-around cultural celebrations and observances.