EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Area Agency on Aging sent teams, from February 4 to 18, across Imperial County to gather public input from residents 60 years and over and their caregivers.
Collected comments from these public hearings — on services earmarked for aging residents — will be included in the Area Plan for Fiscal Year 2020-2024. This plan is required under Title 22 of the Older Americans Act, and AB 2800 of the Older Californians Act.
The teams visited senior congregate meal sites in Brawley, Calexico, El Centro, Heber, Holtville, Ocotillo, Salton City, and Westmorland.
Teams collected comments at the senior congregate meal site at Desert Villa Apartments El Centro before lunch time. There were 26 seniors in attendance.
A board listed the day’s menu — BBQ pork, ranch beans, green beans, apricots, and sliced wheat bread.
As they waited for lunch, several seniors went to the front, took the microphone, and sang their favorite songs listed on an electronic tablet.
Javier Fregoso led the seniors in the karaoke singing. However, there were those among the audience who were content singing along in their seats. A woman in a wheelchair moved the wheels with ease and raised her hands to synchronize with the song.
Team members, who waited until the singing concluded, included Rosyo Ramirez, program manager at Imperial Country Department of Social Services; Terry Swing, Advisory Council for the Imperial County Area Agency on Aging; and Betsy Pino, a social work intern with Adult Protective Services —Department of Social Services.
Swing gave the presentation in English and Ramirez translated for Spanish speakers.
“We are here to advocate for seniors,” said Ramirez. After the presentation, Ramirez and Swing answered questions.
According to Swing there were 10 priority areas of concern listed in her presentation outline. These were: healthcare, dental services, not enough income or money to live on, staying independent at home, assistance with household chores, learning how to obtain services and benefits, accidents in the home, transportation; loneliness, isolation and depression; and learning about nutrition and food preparation.
Comments gathered from the seniors will be combined in a report that will be submitted to AAA, who will get approval from the Imperial County Board of Supervisors. Then, the documents will be sent to the State of California who will decide on funding allocation on the Area Plan 2020-2024.