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Residents Rights Month

October is Residents Rights Month. We use this month to recognize and raise awareness about the rights of residents of long-term care facilities. People who live in nursing homes, assisted living centers, and other types of long-term care facilities deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. All too often however, residents of long-term care facilities struggle to realize and exercise their rights. Contra Costa Senior Legal Services supports long-term care residents and advocates for them to learn about and fight for their rights.

One important right that residents of long-term care facilities have is the right to be free from abuse, unnecessary restraint, and neglect. In California, unnecessarily restraining, abusing, or neglecting an older adult all constitute elder abuse. Elder abuse can be a civil or criminal offense in California. While many long-term care facilities treat their residents with care and respect, too many facilities fail in this regard.

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is a broad term that encompasses different forms of abuse. One form of elder abuse is physical abuse. Physical abuse not only encompasses the infliction of physical pain or injury on an elder, but it also includes sexual abuse. In addition, physical abuse includes the use of physical or chemical restraints, such as psychotropic medication, for punishment or in a way that a doctor did not authorize. Unfortunately, the use of medical as chemical restraints is common in long-term care facilities, especially for residents who have dementia.

Another type of elder abuse is neglect. There are two kinds of neglect. The first kind is self-neglect which is where an elder fails to meet their own needs. The second kind of neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide an elder with medical care, nutrition, clothing or shelter.

 

Neglect can also occur when a caregiver does not help an elder with personal hygiene and fails to protect the senior from health and safety hazards.

Other forms of elder abuse include financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, or any other treatment that results in physical harm, pain, or mental suffering. Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of elder abuse and occurs when someone wrongfully takes or uses an elder’s money or other property. Persons in long-term care facilities have the right to be free from all forms of elder abuse. (more…)

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We use this month to draw attention to this crime and to reaffirm our commitment to ending domestic violence.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence occurs not just between intimate partners, but between other family members, people who had a prior dating relationship, and people who have a child together. There are different forms of domestic violence. While domestic violence includes physical violence, it is important to recognize that domestic abuse is not limited to the actual infliction of physical injury or assault. Domestic violence includes sexual assault and actions that cause another person to fear imminent and serious physical injury.

Other forms of domestic violence include stalking, threats, emotional abuse, and actions to disturb another person’s peace. Actions to disturb the peace means conduct that destroys the mental or emotional calm of another person. Domestic violence can also include harassing phone calls and can involve a systemic pattern of power, coercion, and control perpetrated by one person against another. (more…)

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. This means that women must be proactive about their health. Make sure to get proper screenings, educate yourself about risk factors and symptoms, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

While some people who develop breast cancer exhibit no symptoms, others may show symptoms. A new lump in your breast or underarm can be a symptom of breast cancer. Other symptoms include pain in any part of the breast or a change in the size or shape of the breast. Nipple discharge, excluding breast milk, is also a symptom. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as you can. (more…)

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Explore the Great Outdoor

Going outside either for a walk around the neighborhood or immersing oneself in nature is a great way to not only improve your mood but also benefit your health.

Working on a community garden or walking on a hiking trail are extremely beneficial activities that can make going outside a bit more fun.

Local Community Gardens

Community Gardens are a great way to spend time outside while also helping your community.  Below are a few local community gardens that you can check out.  (Please note there may be some changes in availability due to COVID-19.)  (more…)

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Understanding Unretirement

Are you one of many Americans who retired, only to find that you miss working? You are not alone. Many people who retire subsequently go back to work, some in the same field they once worked in, others in a new field. Economists call this unretirement. For these retirees, retirement is fluid. Unretirement is a relatively common phenomenon. A study published in 2017 found that close to forty percent of workers over 65 who had previously retired subsequently went back to work.1

Why go Back to Work?

For some retirees, their days are filled with activities and contentment. Others however may feel increased isolation and loneliness after retiring. For these individuals, they may feel a loss of the identity that their job had previously provided. For many people, working provides structure, camaraderie, and community and when you retire, you can lose this. For those who struggle in retirement, and even those who don’t, resuming work can help you find a new sense of purpose and give your life some needed structure.

For some older adults, a desire to earn extra income is a primary motivation to return to work. Many older adults however feel economically secure, yet they nevertheless return to the workplace after retiring. For these adults, having a job is fulfilling and helps them stay grounded. If you’re currently working and are feeling burned out in your job, consider retiring, take some time off to recover, and then go back to the workforce at a later date. The current climate can provide a good opportunity for willing seniors to go back to work. Many businesses are having trouble hiring workers and may be willing to hire an older adult to fill an open position.

Going back to work can be a good opportunity to learn new skills. The Senior Community Service Employment Program provides seniors in Contra Costa County who are age 55 and older with work-based job training opportunities. Click here to learn more.

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Lifelong Learning is Always in Season

The Labor Day holiday has traditionally marked the end of summer and the return to school. Back to School advertisements abound – online, on the radio, in newspapers and catalogs. If you are an older adult, the thought of heading back to school may seem like a distant memory. It need not be. There are several ways to continue lifelong learning as the season shifts into fall.

In Contra Costa County there are many course offerings geared to seniors. This fall many of the offerings will be in-person and/or via distance learning. You could acquire new skills, gain a new hobby, or accomplish a lifetime goal.

Mt. Diablo Adult Education provides “lifelong learning opportunities for adults of all ages and abilities.” A quick sampling of their offerings includes Blogging, Cooking/Baking, English as a Second Language, High School Diploma Classes, French or Spanish, Technology Classes, Personal Enrichment, and the list goes on.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) offers a variety of interesting classes for older adults based out of the CalState East Bay Campus. OLLI is offering courses both in person and online on a variety of arts & cultural topics such as American Musical Theater, So Surreal! The Birth of Surrealism in Art & Literature, and Hollywood in the Thirties: A Window on America to name a few. Classes run for varying lengths and prices. For example, the course A Short Course on Dutch Art will run for three Tuesdays in October from 10 – 12pm in person on the Concord campus with a cost of $64 for nonmembers ($42 for members).

Senior Centers across the county are starting to re-open their doors again and are offering up a host of fun programs for older adults. Some classes may be offered through these centers. Check out the site closest to you:

Antioch

Brentwood

Concord

Martinez

Oakley

Pittsburg

Pleasant Hill

San Pablo

San Ramon

Walnut Creek

It’s always a good time to try something new.

 

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How to Hire a California Contractor

Excerpts from California State Contractors’ License Board (CSLB)
(www.cslb.ca.gov)

Before you sign a contract; Before you hire a contractor; or before you pay for work and repairs to your home; Get free information from the California State Contractors License Board on their web site. The following information is a shortened excerpt from their web site:

When hiring a contractor to perform any job on your property, take your time before you make a decision about hiring a contractor. Get at lease three bids and check references. Hire only licensed contractors. Anyone performing home improvement work valued at $500 or more must be licensed by the Contractors State License Board. Get the contractor’s license number.

Contractors State License Board

The CSLB provides information about a contractor’s license, bond and workers’ compensation insurance status, as well as pending and prior legal actions.

  • Verify License Status online
    Choose search option by License Number, Business Name, Personal Name, HIS Number (Salesperson’s Registration #), HIS Name (Salespersons Name to check the status of their registration)
    or by calling (800) 321-CSLB (2752).

Contracts:

  • Get your contract in writing and don’t sign anything until you understand the terms. (In California, there must be a written contract for all home improvement projects over $500 in combined labor and materials costs!) For more detailed information on what a Contract should contain, see CSLB on-line section “What to include in a Contract”.
  • Required in your contract: a specific description of work to be done, materials to be used, total cost of the project, and start and completion dates.
  • Ask a friend, relative, or legal representative to review the contract before you sign it.

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Contact Us

2702 Clayton Rd.
Suite 202

Concord, CA 94519
(925) 609-7900
legalhelp@ccsls.org

Events Calendar

For our upcoming events, check out our calendar.

Our Mission

The mission of CCSLS is to protect the rights of seniors. By providing legal services, the organization is also able to mediate poverty and improve health outcomes for the population it serves. Lawyers are uniquely qualified to help identify and address legal issues that impede the ability of seniors to remain healthy and independent.