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CCSLS invites you to donate to our Giving Tuesday Campaign

Senior in suit

Please contribute to our campaign to purchase some essential infrastructure. As we evolve in our hybrid office environment, we would like to purchase three new laptops, two monitors & two docking stations to facilitate remote flexible work while preserving the data integrity of our clients’ information.

Your gift will help us serve more elders more effectively! 

Fundraising Goal = $3,300
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CalFresh Expansion for Seniors

With the holidays around the corner, it’s important to remember that one in six seniors in Contra Costa County struggle with hunger. Although food insecurity is not a seasonal issue, the holidays can be an especially tough time for our low-income seniors while they manage to pay rent and bills on top of holiday gatherings and gift giving. If this is something you may struggle with, it’s important to be aware of available programs that may help with food insecurity.

CalFresh Expansion is the largest nutrition assistance food program in California that provides an essential hunger safety net for low-income qualified seniors. It serves California Seniors that are at least 60 years old, regardless of whether they receive SSI or SSP benefits. It may help you buy nutritious food for a better diet and better overall health. Here are some facts about the program:

  • You can apply for CalFresh and still get benefits from other programs such as Meals on Wheels and food from senior centers.
  • You may own your home and car and still apply for CalFresh benefits.
  • It’s ok if you have savings or retirement accounts because you may still qualify for benefits.
  • Benefits come on a plastic card that looks like a credit card or debit card, so it is private and easy to use.
  • These benefits can be used at grocery stores and farmers’ markets.
  • Older adults do not have to stand in line to apply for benefits. You can apply online, download an application, ask that an application be mailed to you, or apply by phone.
  • If you have applied for CalFresh in the past and have been denied, you should apply again because the laws have changed, and it may be easier for you now.
  • CalFresh Information Line: 877.847.3663

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Advocacy Opportunity: Measure X Funding for Seniors

Seal of Contra Costa County

CCSLS is working in collaboration with several nonprofit partners to advocate for more Measure X funding to be directed towards safety net services for older adults across the county. In order for this to succeed, we need local citizens to speak up to the Measure X Community Advisory Board so they can hear community support in favor of funding for seniors. There are a couple ways to do this:
1) Submit a signed email (click here to download sample email);
2) Make comments in support at the appropriate time during the scheduled meetings (listed below). Click here to access talking points.

Below is an updated list of opportunities for public comment:

  • Nov. 15 at 5pm – Measure X Community Advisory Board (MXCAB) meets to begin to formulate funding recommendations to Board of Supervisors (BOS).
  • Nov. 28th at 9am – Joint MXCAB & BOS meeting.  Will focus on reports from departments on the status/impact of MX-funded projects; the BOS will also hear an update on additional funds (beyond the confirmed $4.67 million) that might be available to add to the pot.
    • Meeting details: Board Chambers 1025 Escobar Street, Martinez | | Call in: 888-278-0254 access code 843298#
      Special Meeting Items Due: SHORT-CUTOFF Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at noon 
  • Nov. 29 at 5pm – MXCAB special meeting to finalize recommendations to BOS.
  • Dec. 12 at 9am – BOS considers MXCAB recommendations, department requests, and other public input, and determines funding allocations for remaining MX dollars.

Thank you for helping advocate for seniors in our county.

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Support Family Caregivers During National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month. Families are the main source of support for many older adults. Family caregivers perform an extremely important and valuable, yet challenging role. It’s estimated that upwards of 53 million family caregivers provide unpaid care to relatives, valued at more than $470 billion per year in economic terms.

Many of these caregivers are women and most them care for adults age 65 and older. Close to one third of caregivers spend at least 20 hours per week providing care. As the US population ages, the need for caregivers is predicted to grow accordingly.

Caregiving can be stressful and emotionally, physically, and financially taxing. The challenging of caring for someone can sometimes lead caregivers to neglect their own health and well-being. It is important that caregivers look after themselves as well as the person they’re caring for. Caregivers cannot do this alone. Caregivers need the support of those around them to stay healthy. If you aren’t a caregiver but know someone who is, support that person. Follow these tips for supporting caregivers:

  • Be open about offering support
  • Assist with errands, chores, and any other tasks
  • Provide a sympathetic ear and be supportive emotionally and socially
  • Check in with them and help them manage their own healthcare needs, including encouraging them to seek mental health support if need be
  • Be flexible with them

Click here to learn more about resources for caregivers in California.

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Pickleball: What it is and Why Seniors Love it

You’ve probably heard of pickleball, a hot sports trend that became extremely popular during the Covid-19 pandemic. For those unfamiliar with this sport, pickleball is a racket sport played on a small court. The sport can be played as singles, with one person playing against another person, or as doubles, with two teams of two playing one another.

Pickleball has become especially popular among seniors. Pickleball appeals to older adults for a number of reasons. First, pickleball can be a fun social activity. Whether played as singles or doubles, it involves other people and can be a good way to socialize with others and make friends. Socializing with others is important for seniors’ mental and physical health and pickleball can provide a healthy outlet for spending time with others.

Playing pickleball can also be a good way work physical activity into your day because playing pickleball gets players up and moving around. At the same time, the small court helps minimize the amount of running necessary to play the game, making it easier for older adults to play. Hitting the ball with a racket can build hand eye coordination, while moving around the court can improve balance. The lower net and the lightweight plastic ball make pickleball easier on an aging body than a more demanding sport like tennis. This isn’t to say however that playing pickleball is completely risk free. The sport can involve lunging and twisting, making it is possible for players injure themselves. Most pickleball injuries do occur in older players. Pickleball players should be mindful of the possibility for injury and be careful to avoid falls, back injuries, or other muscle or joint injuries or sprains.

Many public parks with tennis courts also have pickleball courts. Check out a park in your community to see if it can accommodate pickleball and get out and play. To learn more about pickleball, including the basics of the game and how the game is played, click here.

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Ageism Awareness Day

Ageism Awareness Day

October 7th is Ageism Awareness Day. This day of recognition is an effort to raise awareness and bring attention to the fact that many older adults experience ageism in many different realms of life. 

Contra Costa Senior Legal Services wants to bring attention to this subject by sharing this very useful “Ageism Factsheet” courtesy of the American Society on Aging’s Ageism & Culture Advisory Council.

We hope you find this information useful and informative. #AgeismAwarenessDay

Ageism Factsheet 

I. Defining Ageism 

  • Ageism refers to the stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) toward others or oneself based upon age. 
  • There are many forms of ageism, including: 

Internalized ageism: How we feel about ourselves as aging people; and ageism in which older adults marginalize and discriminate against other older people. 

Cultural ageism: The everyday, invisible, profoundly ingrained and normalized negative messages about aging and old people embedded in movies, TV, songs, jokes, etc. 

Implicit ageism: The unconscious bias that includes attitudes, feelings and behaviors toward people of other age groups that operates without conscious awareness or intention. 

Benevolent ageism: Patronizing, paternalistic beliefs or behaviors that older people need to be protected and taken care of by younger people, because they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. 

Ex. Elderspeak When an older adult is addressed as if they are much younger and can’t make decisions on their own—the voice may rise to a higher pitch, simple words are used and spoken more slowly as if speaking to a child. 

  • Ageism is one of the most widespread and socially accepted form of prejudice. 
  • Ageism and Age stereotypes are often internalized at a young age—long before they are even relevant. Even by the age of 3, children are familiar with age stereotypes, which are reinforced over their lifetimes.

II. How Ageism Harms Us 

  • Ageism intersects and exacerbates all the other “isms,” including racism, sexism and ableism. Multiple intersecting forms of bias compound disadvantage and worsen the effects of ageism on individuals’ health and well-being. 
  • Ageism affects our health and longevity. Older individuals with more positive self-perceptions of aging live 7.5 years longer than those with a less positive self perception of aging. Also, higher optimism has been associated with more positive self-perception of aging, which can lead to positive health consequences. 
  • Ageism harms our financial well being. Older workers face longer periods of unemployment, discrimination during the hiring process, and fewer professional development opportunities. 
  • Ageism harms our economy. o AARP estimated $850 billion in lost gains to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a result of involuntary retirement, underemployment, and unemployment among older workers. 
  • Levy and colleagues (2020) estimated that in just one year, $63 billion in healthcare costs were due to ageism. 

III. Where Ageism Shows Up 

  • “Ageism in American medicine and society is a matter of life and death, as dangerous as any incorrectly prescribed medicine or slipped scalpel. These negative stereotypes often result in less effective care, like denial of treatment options, under diagnosis of depression, and mismanaged pain.” 
  • Ageism in media remains pervasive. One study found that only 1.5% of characters on television in the United States were older people and most of them had minor roles and were often portrayed for comic effect, drawing on stereotypes of physical, cognitive and sexual ineffectiveness. 
  • Ageism in marketing and advertising is just as bad. “Only an estimated 5% to 10% of marketing budgets are devoted to winning them [people older than 50] over. Only 5% of advertising images of people over 50 show them using technology, and even then it’s usually a younger person teaching an older person how to use a device.” 
  • Older influencers are wracking up big numbers on TikTok and other accounts—7.3 million followers for four gay men in their 70s, 14 million for a TikTok chef, and audiences view them as authentic and to be trusted. Caregivers have started using social media to form peer support groups and normalize the caregiving experience using #dementia and #caregiving to build their communities. At least 73% of people ages 50–64 use at least one social media site, and 45% of those older than age 65 do the same. However, older adult use of TikTok and Instagram still lags behind Facebook and YouTube. Only 26% of people ages 55 and older follow any virtual influencers. 

IV: Ageism in Healthcare 

  • Older adults are not included in clinical trials and less likely receive preventive care. 
  • There are 8,220 full-time practicing geriatricians in the United States, and there will be a 50% increase in demand for geriatricians between 2018 and 2030. About 30% of adults older than age 65 need a geriatrician. 
  • The average salary for a geriatrician is $233,564, whereas anesthesiologists are paid twice that and cardiologists and radiologists’ salaries top $500,000. 
  • Geriatricians care for patients that require more time and resources than average Medicare beneficiaries, yet reimbursement is not correspondingly increased. 
  • By 2025, the United States will need about 33,2000 geriatricians to care for older patients, but currently, 50% of geriatricians practice full time. 
  • More than a third of 384 available slots for graduate fellowships in geriatrics— excluding geriatric psychiatry—went unfilled in 2019. 
  • Less than 1% of grant funds go to causes related to age. 
  • It is presumed that ageism is a causal factor for elder mistreatment, but there is little research to prove this connection. Pillemer et al. have studied the proposed conceptual pathways and limited empirical research connecting the two. 
  • Approximately 1 in 10 Americans ages 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse; but only 1 in 24 cases are reported to authorities. 
  • In about 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidences, the perpetrator is a family member. 
  • Elder financial abuse and fraud costs to older Americans range from $2.6 billion to $36.5 billion. 

The Ageism & Culture Advisory Council is formed of American Society on Aging members that are dedicated to developing anti-ageism resources and ambassadors, while also supporting older adults’ recognition in the arts and expanding society’s understanding of cross-cultural views on aging. 

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Understanding Domestic Violence

DV Awareness

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is very common and occurs in all communities, across all demographics. There are many different forms of domestic violence. It is important to recognize that domestic violence does not have to include physical abuse, such as hitting someone, or physical injury to constitute domestic violence.

Domestic violence is often defined as a pattern of abusive behavior that is used by one person to gain or maintain power and control over another person. We might wonder what this actually means and what types of actions or behaviors constitute domestic violence. There are many different behaviors that can constitute domestic violence. Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, economic, or even spiritual. Making threats to another person can constitute domestic violence. Behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, threaten, injure, wound, coerce, or blame someone are domestic violence.

In California, the definition of domestic violence includes actions that “disturb the peace of another party.” Disturbing the peace means destroying someone’s mental or emotional calm and includes coercive control. Coercive control is the unreasonable interference with someone’s free will and personal liberty. Coercive control includes a actions that unreasonably limit another person’s free will and individual rights, such as controlling or keeping track of someone, including their movements, contacts, actions, money, or access to services.

Additional actions that constitute domestic violence include:

  • Threats to harm you or your family
  • Stalking
  • Destroying personal property
  • Repeated and unwanted contact with you
  • Keeping someone from getting food or meeting basic needs
  • Hitting, kicking, pushing, biting, putting hair
  • Strangling someone
  • Abusing a pet or animal
  • Sexual abuse
  • Stopping you from accessing or earning money
  • Making threats based on someone’s actual, or suspected, immigration status
  • Isolating someone from family, friends, or other support
  • Making someone do something by force, threats, or intimidation
  • Attempting to control or interfere with someone’s contraception, birth control pregnancy, or access to health information

If you are experiencing domestic violence, there are many resources in Contra Costa County to help you. Contra Costa Senior Legal Services can help persons experiencing domestic violence who live in Contra Costa County who are 60 and older. Other resources include:

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Contact Us

2702 Clayton Rd.
Suite 202

Concord, CA 94519
(925) 609-7900

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.